There are two encounters I want to highlight. The first was on August 8th. My boyfriend Johnny and I were watching J pod from shore that morning. Polaris J28, Star J46, and J54 were milling about close to shore and it looked like Star J46 successfully caught a few salmon. Star J46 then began breaching and cartwheeling. Off the distance, we noticed a male we expected to be from J pod but as he got closer we realized he was Lobo K26! K pod had finally returned to the inland waters for the first time since early June! Johnny and I rushed to alert my coworkers at the Center for Whale Research and we were out on the water under permit soon after. It was so great to see K pod again after their long absence. The encounter summary can be viewed on the Center’s blog.
The other encounter took place on the evening of August 14th. I was standing along the cliffs near my house when the K12s and K13s passed by extremely close to shore. It was great to see the orcas in such a playful mood as they frolicked in the kelp beds, breached, spy hopped, cartwheeled, and tail slapped. Spock K20 and sprouter male Cali K34 were the two most interested in the kelp and both spy hopped multiple times very close to shore. Cali K34 even surfaced with a strand of kelp hanging from his gaping mouth. His teeth look very nice! Deadhead K27, Cali K34, and Ripple K44 were the breachers. Sprouter male Tika K33 also came over close to shore as the sun was about to set, the mist from his exhale illuminated in the evening light. This encounter will stay with me for a long time. Enjoy the photos.