It had been raining but on Monday, July 16th, the day couldn’t have been more beautiful. Our cruise was from 1:30-4:30, and young, tan Joe, dressed in shorts, tee shirt and sandals, was our captain. He pushed off into Puget Sound. His ten cruisers listened attentively as he told us proudly of his brand-new aluminum boat we were on. He gave the safety talk, and throughout the trip he was chatty and informative, very personable, a great guide.
We sailed for 50 minutes to pick up 12 more people at the dock on Orcas Island, and then were off. At first it was a perfect trip as Joe revved the motor to gain speed. Our hair blew, the sun shone on our faces, and it felt as if we were freed from all cares. The fresh sea air felt wonderful. Soon, though, it got cold as he cranked the speed, so we went inside. The view was still great.
After a few minutes we heard, “There’s one!”
I looked in that direction, saw an expanse of water, but nothing else. Well, I didn’t know what, exactly, I was looking for. Soon, however, I, too, was oohing and ahing over the black triangles of orca fins. Cameras clicked all over the place. Joe told us that we would be seeing a lot of boats and that that was where the whales were.
Soon Joe cut the motor. We were all on one side of the boat, quiet, anticipating. And then, “Ooh!”
We had come upon a pod of whales. They swam in pairs, in groups, and we saw wonderful tail splashes, breaching, and those gigantic killer whales jumping up, then disappearing underwater without a sound. I wondered how that could be possible.
We watched for over an hour, and as I review my pictures I have many from quite a distance. But there’s one which is spectacular, of three whales breaching simultaneously. I will enlarge and frame that one as a memory of this most extraordinary day.
We heard a joke, which I think is funny and would like to share:
There is, in reality, a J Pod of whales, a K Pod, and an L Pod. But because a lot of Microsoft executives live on Lopez Island (true), there’s also an I-Pod!