On the morning of 11/28/13, I heard a report that lots of orcas had been seen off the West side of San Juan Island, usually an indicator for one or more Southern Resident orca pods. I looked out my window to see a few orcas milling offshore, acting more like a small group of Transient orcas, who instead of eating only salmon like the Residents, prey specifically on marine mammals. The orcas began moving North so I drove that direction as well and once I was at a higher vantage point, I could see many, many more orcas and it was obvious that I was looking at Residents. I headed to Lime Kiln State Park and got there just in time as J, K and L pod, minus two matrilines called the L12's and L22's, passed by shore, some just a few feet away. They were very active!
Best Thanksgiving EVER!!
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.