Whales: Killer whales come to San Juan Island…

The whales
The whales came to play yesterday off the west side of San Juan Island…photo courtesy of Katie Jones, Spyhopper Travels Photography.)

It’s the time of year when the salmon are around, so the Southern Resident killer whales come to San Juan around now & hang out for much of the summer. When they came yesterday, a number of local wildlife photographers headed to the west side of the island and captured some pictures to share… here’s what Katie Jones  (her amazing photography is on her Spyhopper Travels website, here) had to say about the day:

Katie Jones - photo by Chris Teren/Teren Photography
Katie Jones – photo by Chris Teren/Teren Photography

I quite simply haven’t the words to describe today.

Easily one of my best shore encounters ever with J pod and… L pod! That’s right! Those little sneakers popped into the islands last night.

Our day started bright and early…only it wasn’t so bright this morning. Lots of fog, mist, and wind. After sitting on the west side of the island for three hours with nothing materializing, it was time to go to town and grab breakfast. Midway through the meal we get the report: lots and LOTS of orcas at Eagle Point northbound which then ensued the unhealthy shoving down of food and running for the door (we did remember to pay ).

Upon reaching the west side at Land Bank we saw J2 Granny, J19 Shachi, J41 Eclipse, and J26 Mike meandering up the coastline. They looked as if they might come close into shore which then caused us to go huffing and puffing quickly up the hill to drive down to Lime Kiln Lighthouse. While scrambling down onto the rocks at the light, Granny came by with the other three, but instead of continuing north, they turned and went back south. OH NO!

We made the wrong decision to leave Land Bank which turned quickly into regret and shaming ourselves for not being patient. BUT! That’s when things began to change. As we looked to the south, we began to see more and more and MORE orcas rounding Edwards Point. They were in very tight, playful groups and they were so close to shore! Oh…if only they keep coming this way… And did they ever!

They came in close at the lighthouse. They were practically at our feet as they socialized and frolicked in the silvery afternoon sun, adrenaline pounding through our systems like a happy wrecking ball, squeals of exuberance unable to be contained…

Long story short, it was a very good day. 

For more photos of the orcas (and more, way more!) around San Juan Island and the Salish Sea, check out these wildlife & outdoors photographers:

Chris Teren – Teren Photography
Traci Walter – Traci Walter Photography
Monika Weiland – Orcawatcher
Danny Herbert  – Danny Herbert Photography
Michael BertrandMichael Bertrand Photography

(These folk are professionals – please don’t take their pictures without permission! Most photos can be purchased on their sites & would look beautiful on your wall!)

Defying gravity, earlier this week! Photo by Chris Teren/Teren Photography
Defying gravity, earlier this week! Photo by Chris Teren/Teren Photography

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