May 16, 2013
With the start of Island Mariner’s 35th whale-watch season at hand, here are some Orca facts to keep in mind, as you consider spending a day on the waters of the Salish Sea.
According to the Orca Network, the population of the Southern Resident Orcas declined an alarming 20% between 1995 and 2001. Recent counts put the total population at about 88 individuals (J pod: 28 members; K pod: 20 members; and L pod: 40 members). The newest member is J49, first spotted in Aug 2012. And for longevity, J2 – also known as “Granny” – is thought to be the oldest Orca in the world. It is estimated that she was born in 1911!
In addition to our resident Orca population, killer whales known as transients can also be spotted in our area. Transients are non-resident whales that, on occasion, come in to northwest waters from the Pacific Ocean. Within the past week, there have been several sightings in the San Juan Channel.
As you prepare for your whale-watch adventure with Island Mariner, here is a list of some items you’ll want to consider bringing with you:
Layers of clothing – It may be warm and sunny at the dock, but conditions can change quickly on the water. Wear clothes in layers, so you can adjust easily to the temperature, wind, and precipitation.
Camera – Every whale-watch cruise is different. The Orcas may appear in the distance, or they may swim right up to the boat. Having a camera at the ready is a great way to preserve the memories of a day at sea.
Binoculars – We have several pairs on board for your use but, when the whales appear, you don’t want to be left without a way to see them up close.
Food – We have a complete snack bar onboard that serves sandwiches, soups/chowder, beverages and more. You are also welcome to bring your own snacks/meals with you.
Check out our blog throughout the whale-watch season for more information on sightings and on Island Mariner Cruises!