The L22's have been all alone since the rest of the Southern Resident orcas headed out on the night of 7/12/13. Spirit L22, and her two sons Skana L79, and Solstice L89 have spent almost all their time foraging for Chinook salmon along San Juan Island, but on this day they were at Hein Bank, about six miles South of San Juan. As I watched the three orcas from the "Odyssey" of San Juan Excursions, they seemed to be in an active mood. To read into the history of the L22 matriline, check out my last post about them here.
A few minke whales were even active today, lunging as they ate schools of herring. To learn more about minke whales, check out this post here.
This was the second time I had ever seen a minke whale lunge feed, let alone two doing it within seconds of each other! We left the L22's as they headed back to San Juan Island and as I write this, I can see the L22's swimming past my house on the West side of the island, their breaths illuminated in the sunset.
Melisa Pinnow grew up on San Juan Island in Washington State. She recently graduated from Evergreen State College with a Bachelor of Science in marine biology and ornithology. She is a certified marine naturalist for San Juan Excursions and also works at the Center for Whale Research. It is her hope that sharing her orca encounters will inspire others to love and protect these magnificent creatures for generations to come.