I have a lot of pictures of dorsal fins, but I've only posted the best of the best. There were 2 marine biologists on board, Anna and Nicola, who were, of course, very knowledgable about marine mammals. They are able to identify the whales by the shapes of their dorsal fins. J, K and L Pods were the ones making their appearance the day I went, and so we got the benefit of L Pod. The land behind is San Juan Island, Washington.
I think it was when I saw these 2 whales swimming together that I wanted to burst into tears of happiness. I've seen orca whales perform at SeaWorld and Marine World Africa USA but this is the first time I've seen them in the wild. Anna identified these as a grandmother and grandson. She said that families often stay together their whole lives and joked about "how would you like your grandson hanging around with you all the time?"
At one point, far off in the distance, I saw a whale breach and then the giant splash as he came down. It happened too quick to get off a shot, but at least I have that memory burned into my brain.
Then we lucked out big time. This big guy, who Anna identified as the whale called "Mega" was feeding off San Juan Island. He would dive slowly, then come up. I kept my finger on the shutter button every time his fin would emerge, hoping that I'd capture some good photos of him. I was not disappointed.
This is the best whale shot I got all day. I could not have been more pleased. Anna and Nicola agreed that this is about the best you can hope for when on a whale watch....or as they called it "A whale wait". Apparently it's a crapshoot when they go out there. Sometimes you see orcas, sometimes you don't. Sometimes it's from very far away and that's it. Today, Mega swam close enough and slow enough to give our tour a real treat.
That humpback who was sighted in the Strait the day I sailed over was still hanging around but we didn't get to see him that day, although other tours had spotted it. After we hung around and watched Mega, it was time for the Captain to turn back. The ride back in to Victoria was as wild as it was going out. We were hitting wakes and waves like crazy, with the water spraying up high on either side. I was "whoo-hooing" because I love being on a boat that's traveling fast in open water.
The Ocean Magic pulled back in to the harbour at 6:30 and I left completely content and satisified. I had a blast and I got to finally see real orca whales in the wild. I headed back to my hotel with a grin on my face.