J-50, SRKW, San Juan Island

Three New Orca Calves!

Welcome to the Salish Sea, L-121, J-51 and J-50!  This year’s whale watchers will see three new calves that were born into the Southern Resident Killer Whale (SRKW) family. Here on the Island, news of baby orcas are like hearing a neighbor […]

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Your Next Book Club Pick!

Diane Hammond is a Keiko expert. You may know Diane Hammond as a popular writer of several successful Pacific-Northwest based books, but I was first introduced to her as Keiko the whale’s press secretary. As a naturalist and orca freak, naturally I […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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