Finally, I saw a pod of orcas! Since I'd never had any luck spotting them in the past, when a man on the beach asked if I'd noticed them, I almost didn't even bother to look. Besides, I was busy photographing Oystercatchers and Sandpipers. However, I was wearing my binoculars, and didn't want to be rude, so I took a peek in the direction of Whidbey Island. There they were! A pod of maybe six orcas of different sizes swam powerfully ahead, flashing those impossibly tall dorsal fins as four surfaced together. I learned that there are three "Southern resident" pods named J, K, and L swimming in the Salish Sea, which includes the Puget Sound and points north. Researchers name each orca and also refer to them alphanumerically, like J3 or L5. The pod I saw was either J or K, and researchers were hoping to spot the orca calf J48 born last month, but didn't. I hope the baby is okay. I had no idea that orca children stay with their mothers their whole lives, and that some- specifically J2 and K7- were over 90 years old. What remarkable creatures! I've now signed up for emails from the Orca Network's whale sightings so I can try to see them again.
My unfortunate photograph (above) of two blurry bumps shows two dorsal fins. It reminds me of another disappointing photo I took a few years ago in Australia where the platypus was the elusive creature we kept trying to observe. We checked a pond twice a day hoping to see one, and on our last day in North Queensland, there it was, and I deftly photographed three blurry bumps on the surface of the little pond, the platypus's head, back, and tail.
For better photographs and amazing facts about our local orcas: