A Whale of a Day

Today was all about whales. We started at the (literally) world renown Whale Museum in Friday Harbor

We learned some cool stuff,
admired the street art octopus (I love octopi),
and found out about a talk to be given that night by a visiting Orca researcher.
Which we, and an SRO crowd, attended. Interesting stuff.
Fish lights at our lunch spot, Blue Water Bar and Grill.
And in between, we took a boat
out past San Juan Island's second lighthouse,
to do a bit of whale watching.
Our hopes of seeing whales weren't very high;
the two naturalists on board told us no Orcas has been spotted on the previous day's trip.
But it was nice and relaxing to be on the water, so no big deal, right?
Instead, we hit the whale jackpot.
The J Pod we were looking for decided this was the day they should reunite with their pals from K Pod and L Pod.
We saw at least 20 individual Orcas (those with stars by their names on the list above),

and since pods always travel together, there were probably 70 - 80 whales in our vicinity. There was lots of breaching, splashing and general whale high jinks. And our boat's hydrophone captured some amazing whale vocalizations.
My little camera got a few shots, mostly through blind luck, but the naturalists each had big cameras, with huge lenses, and said they will email their pictures to passengers in a week or so. Can't wait to see those!!
2015 saw five baby Orcas added to the resident pods.
And how do they know which whale is which?

There's a app book, just for that.
Pictures, identifying markings, lineage, last sighting - it's all here. All the whale watching boats - and other individuals - track which Orcas they see each day, then turn that info over to the Whale Museum for use by researchers and the Orca Survey. Lots of people working together to better understand these majestic creatures.