K-Pod orcas seen from the shore; photo by Libby Baldwin

K-Pod Returns to the San Juans

Over the weekend, orca enthusiasts on the island were thrilled when several members of K-Pod were reported as inbound from an area to the north called Race Rocks. Sure enough, a couple of hours later they were seen making their way down the southern end of San Juan Island. Several whale-watching operators trailed them as […]

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How Would an Oil Spill Affect the San Juans?

Some environmentally conscious folks have launched a project to find out. The Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Georgia Straight Alliance have undertaken a research project to find out what would happen if an oil tanker began leaking into the Salish Sea, which is the collective name for the waters around southern Vancouver Island and the […]

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Need Something To Do on a Cloudy Day on SJI? Here’s 10!

The sun is starting to make its triumphant reappearance here in the San Juan Islands! Thanks to the “rainshadow effect,” we enjoy an average of 250 or more sunny days every year, and receive only about half of the rainfall that our friends to the south in Seattle receive! The “banana belt,” as our area […]

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Charmed by Whales

 Anna Maria and Dave recently enjoyed a well-deserved vacation in Hawaii, and she shared with me the story of an incredible whale encounter that they had. As we approach the start of whale-watching season here on San Juan Island, I wanted to share it with all of you. We hope it inspires you to book […]

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The Blackfish Effect and San Juan Island

One of the hottest films of 2013 wasn’t about an apocalypse, a star-crossed beautiful couple, or superheroes. It was about killer whales. Blackfish, a documentary filmed directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, began as an investigation into the events leading to the death of veteran Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010. What it has turned […]

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Photo Courtesy of Captain Jim Maya

Update on our Orcas w/ Captain Jim!

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 […]

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Photo by Libby Baldwin for San Juan Excursions

A New Year Means a New Chance to Save our Orcas!

As you reflect back on 2013, you may remember moments of both triumph and tragedy in your life. You may think about the highs and lows of the year and use those memories to reflect on what you want to change, or what kinds of New Year’s resolutions you want to try and keep this […]

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J-8, also known as Speiden, is the most recent loss in the southern resident orca community. She and three others will be honored at this year's Day of the Dead ceremony.

Beloved Orca Speiden Missing and Presumed Dead

The months of October and November are not unusual months to see orcas in the San Juan Islands. Although the peak season is May-September, our southern resident community of orcas, most notably J-Pod, tends to stick around and have been sighted every month of the year historically. What was unusual about October 16 was the […]

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Court Rules that Federal Agency Failed to Protect Thousands of Whales and Dolphins from Navy Sonar

A federal court has ruled that National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) failed to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. In an opinion released late Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Nandor Vadas, U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California, […]

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L119 and Her Mother Matia

Orca Calf L-119 is Named

After several weeks of public voting with more than 2,500 votes counted, Southern Resident Community Orca calf  L-119 has received her name! Though the voting was close, Joy is the winning name by about 100 votes. Joy is a fitting name as this playful calf has brought joy and hope for these endangered whales.Read more […]

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Whale Museum Looks for Votes to Name L-119

Cast Your Vote to Name L-119, the New Orca Calf! Each year The Whale Museum gives names to calves of the Southern Resident Community who have survived a full winter. This year, it’s time to name L-119 (female), first seen in May of 2012 and the offspring of Matia (L-77). Over the years there have […]

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J-49 keeping up with Mom. Photo courtesy of Maya's Westside Whale Watch Charters.

The Samish Indian Nation Names New Orca Calf J-49

The Whale Museum has a long history of naming orca calves of the Southern Resident Community, then entering them in the “orca Adoption Program,” which is a symbolic adoption. This year, several Whale Museum staff members had the rare opportunity to participate in a Samish Indian Nation traditional potlatch naming ceremony for J-49, the newest […]

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Loro Stokes and Mayor Carrie Lacher

The Fluke: A Valentine’s Gift to the Town

On Valentine’s Day, a small crowd gathered to dedicate ‘The Fluke’, the Town of Friday Harbor’s first public art piece, a polished aluminum whale tail sculpture weighing 180 pounds. This life-size statue measuring 12 feet across and 4 feet high, is installed on the corner of A and First street, a couple of blocks from […]

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