The summer of 2013 was the worst summer in a long time for orca sightings, with the J-Pod whales being sighted only 27 times in our area between April and August. But the winter has been excellent, with lots of orca appearances in addition to an abundance of other amazing wildlife!
Captain Jim Maya of Maya’s Westside Charters is a good friend of the inn; his stunning photographs have been on display at Tucker House. He has been a captain on the local waters longer than anyone else, and has a knack for finding the orcas even if they are being particularly elusive that day! I’ll be keeping you updated regularly on his sightings and sharing some of those breathtaking photos.
Captain Jim goes out all year round, visit his website to learn more and to find out how you can take a trip on his boat, the Peregrine.
The images in this post are some of his favorite non-orca images from 2012, as well as some orca shots from a day that was supposed to be a search for transient orcas but ended up with a surprise visit from J-Pod just off Lime Kiln State Park! (Transient orcas are marine mammal eaters and don’t have a home base. Our resident orcas, J, K and L pod, are spotted most months of the year in our waters feeding on Chinook salmon, which make up 95% of their diet.)
Here’s Captain Jim’s account of that exciting resident day!
“All of our best guesses were that the residents had gone out to the ocean Wednesday evening. I was happy to hear of some transient orcas near Victoria and figured that was where I was headed on our 12:00 sailing. However…at 11:30 I got a call that there were residents near Lime Kiln! Oh yes! I called our naturalist, Jeanne Hyde, who wasn’t going to be with us that morning. She was totally surprised since she had not heard any vocalizations on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. She came running and off we went! We spotted orcas off of Lime Kiln in about 15 minutes, out in the fog. All of J Pod, most of the Ks and old L87, now a J Pod member! It was a most unusual day. They were very quiet on our first trip, doing a lot of milling. We came out again at 3:00 and they back to their usual behavior, with a lot of breaching and playing around.”
You just never know when the orcas are going to make an appearance, but the beauty of living here is that they are likely to be close by, whatever the time of year!