Circumnavigation and J pod synchrony

Jones Island to Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island

We started today with the intention of finding the orcas. Once we made it out into Haro Strait we realized that the winds were very strong and that even if we found the orcas it would be very challenging to deploy the hydrophones. We made amazing time riding the tides and sailing at about 10 knots over ground, so we decided to circumnavigate San Juan Island. We got a lot of sailing in and made it up to Stuart Island around 4:30 and had a sailing lecture before finding out that J pod had been spotted heading north at Lime Kiln 1.5 hours prior. We decided to go out to the point to see if we could spot them as they passed by. We went out and at the tip of Turn Point there was a line of white water. It was the convergence zone of the upwellings caused by the tides moving over the rocks near the point. There was a mass of gulls all feeding in the upwellings. We went a bit further and saw some orcas. It was very exciting! We didn’t ID them because they were too far away and they weren’t on the surface in any predictable pattern. We thought that they were foraging so the direction they were moving was hard to tell, but we thought they were moving north.

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