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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Extraordinary Experience

The pictures speak for themselves today, but I'm going to give you a few words to preface them anyway. To set the stage, last night we saw J-Pod heading south along the westside of San Juan Island, and heard there were lots of whales inbound from the ocean via the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There was hope that today might be a superpod, but I had little idea what it was in store.

I have been watching these whales for 10 years, and every encounter with them is different and exciting. Every once in a rare while, though, I get to witness something that absolutely blows me away. Today was one of those days.

These whales are known for being fairly active at the surface, but I have never seen them as active as they were today. They were in three large resting groups when we arrived on scene, and about 15 minutes after we got there they woke up and absolutely erupted. Tail slaps, cartwheels, breaches, double breaches - all happening every which way you looked and all happening at the same time. I really don't have the words to describe what it was like to be out there watching them, but hopefully these photos will give you a glimpse into the phenomenal morning I was lucky enough to experience.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Epic stuff! Methinks you're going to have to upgrade to video for us.
Now the footy is just about finished we can concentrate on orca-cam in the evenings!!! Fingers crossed...still got enough of them (PM sent to gmail).
Please ask said whales to perform in front of camera at about 19.00hrs GMT



Carol said...

Beautiful photos! I would love to see Orcas like this for myself sometime!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

PS the team I tipped to win (other than England)has reached the final but will they be able to beat the Spanish?



Alex Shapiro said...

Wow, wow, wow! Just fabulous, Monika!

Monika said...

Dave - Definitely epic. I have just been playing around with the video function on my Nikon so I'll try to get some footage posted at some point. I'll let the whales know when you'll be watching, and in the meantime go Netherlands!

Carol - Thanks!

Alex - Wow, wow, wow just about summed it up for me! :)

eileeninmd said...

Just awesome, Monika! I wish I could have been there to see it in person. But your photos are cool!

Rainsong said...

What do you know....there ARE whales making the splash! I have stacks of shots of SPLASH but not many of air-born Orca. Must have something to do with taking the boat from Everett instead of Friday Harbor.... surly it has nothing to do with my camera skill? Great job M. I'm still dazzled by your trip to Alaska and so thankful that you shared. We are planning our own trip because of what you blogged.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much. With what's happening in the gulf, it is encouraging to see the big guys in beautiful water doing their thing.
Again, thank you!