Vancouver Whale Watch – J pod orcas

 

By Leavenworth WA Photographer – Dominic Urbano

A trip with Vancouver Whale Watch out of Richmond/Steveston BC was a worthwhile experience. During our four hours on the boat we spent about an hour tracking along with the J Pod orca whales as they made their way north between Mayne and Giliano islands and on towards the mouth of the Fraser river. Even without the whales, any boat trip into the San Juan and Channel Islands is a beautiful and worthwhile experience. The whale watching tour afforded a chance to see some of the endangered resident orca whale population up close.

From a photography standpoint the trip was a bit of a bust. The ‘good’ shots just didn’t come to pass and I almost missed the big one. After several hours of having my camera at the ready and snapping shots of distant dorsal fins I finally put my camera down to take a drink of water. As the water bottle touched my lips, Blackberry, the big J Pod male launched out of the water near our boat. What a sight! It ended up being the first of three breaches that he made. Each one further away from our boat. I had my camera up in time for the third breach.

I will be looking for another opportunity to photograph these amazing mammals. I confess I was a little uncomfortable being part of such a large crowd that was following the orca pod. The boat captains were careful to maintain the recommended distance limits from the whales and members of “Strait Watch” patrolled nearby to help enforce the rules.

Bald eagle
On the way out to start our whale watch tour, this rough looking bald eagle watched us pass a few hundred feet away.
seals
Any trip into the San Juan / Channel Islands will likely afford you an opportunity to see seals.
whale watching
Two of the seven or more whale watching boats that ‘surrounded’ the J pod orcas.
J Pod orca whales
The J Pod orcas, with the big male “Blackberry”, make their way past Galiano Island.
strait watch volunteers
With Mt. Baker in the background, members of “Stait watch” patrol along with J-Pod and the tour boats. They work to ensure that the rules protecting the orcas are followed.
orca whale breach
The large male from J Pod, Blackberry, launches out of the water.

 

Published by Dominic Urbano

A native of Washington state Dominic is a 1989 graduate of Central Washington University with degrees in mass communications - video production, and business management.

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