As some of you may know, last Saturday was Parks Day – the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. Here on Saturna Island, many people were visiting from all around the Salish Sea to see the underwater world through the SubEye live dive, look at and learn about the marine invertebrates that divers brought to the surface for the Intertidal Safari, and learn about orcas at the Parks Canada orca update.
And what a day of celebration it was! While we were celebrating 100 years of BC and Canada Parks, the orcas were celebrating a family reunion. L-Pod came racing through Tumbo Channel, porpoising out of the water to gain speed, and out to the Strait of Georgia. They breached, tail-lobbed, dorsal-slapped and cartwheeled their way around the East Point park and into Boundary Pass, to the delight of about 50 or 60 surprised onlookers.
Shortly after L-pod’s departure down the pass, J and K pods came down the Strait. They too were super active. They breached so many times in such quick succession that I completely lost count of how many breaches I had seen!
As they rounded the point, they came right into the kelp forest that lines the shoreline. They were so close to shore that I could see them swimming beneath the surface of the waves.
The whole time that the whales were here, there were no boats to be seen. The whales could have heard each other for several kilometers, without human interference, just like days of old. It must have been a great day for them too.
This was, by far, the best whale watching that I have ever done, and I am so grateful that the whales came by at a time when so many other people were there to appreciate their beauty. I hope that all of the people who saw the whales that day will hold onto that memory, because it really doesn’t get any better than that. I hope that they all went home excited, and with renewed intent to protect our ocean and the animals that inhabit it.
Photos by Kristen Kanes unless otherwise stated.