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Tag: Orca Whales

Orca Whales of the Salish Sea

by on Aug.14, 2012, under Adventures

Orca (Killer) Whales roam the oceans of the world. These beautiful mammals normally travel in small family groups called pods. “Transient” Orca whales (those that continually travel) live in smaller pods than “Resident” Orca whales who live in much larger family groups and tend to stay in certain well defined areas for most of the year.

The San Juan Islands of Washington State offer the best Orca whale watching in the world. The “Southern Residents” as these Orca whales are called live in three pods called J, K,& L pod. The total amount of whales in these three pods is almost ninety animals. J, K & L pod all inter-act with each other, often swimming together and should be considered one very large extended family of Orca Whales. There also is a group of Orca Whales called the “Northern Residents” who live in British Columbia, but these animals live in an area that is very hard to access for the general public, and so viewing them is very difficult.

“Southern Resident” Orca whales live and travel in an area called the Salish Sea (an Indian name for this coastal area). This area includes the San Juan Island archipelago of Washington State and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia. The reason that this area can support so many resident Orca Whales is because Salmon ( the only thing the resident Orca’s eat) are so plentiful. Salmon is a very rich food source and these fish return from the Pacific Ocean where they spend up to four years before they swim down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and into the Salish Sea as they travel back to the rivers where they spawned from.

You can find many professional whale watching companies to take you out to view the Orca Whales of Washington State. Most whale watching boats leave from Canadian ports but some whale watching boats leave right from the San Juan Islands. The best way to view these wonderful mammals is to make an enjoyable day of it. Walk on the Washington State ferry departing from Anacortes ( schedule is available on-line) and rendezvous with the whale watching company of your choice in the San Juan Islands, (do book your trip ahead of time). You can go on a very large boat( some taking over fifty passengers at a time) to small boats that only take six guests and the captain.

Seeing the Orca Whales of Washington State is a spectacular experience of majesty, and elegant beauty in nature. This trip should be on everybody’s “bucket list”.

Would you like to learn more about Orca Whales in the Pacific Northwest? If so please visit me on line and also view my FREE PHOTO GALLERY. Whale Watching

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    Killer Whales of Eden

    by on Aug.13, 2012, under Adventures

    The Orca Whales of Eden is the most remarkable story I have ever heard of regarding a working relationship between humans and Orca whales in the wild. This story is not fiction even though it sounds like it is. A simple internet search will reveal more information than I could possible write here. So briefly, the story of the Orca’s of Eden starts hundreds of years ago.

    Eden is a small coastal town on the south east coast of Australia. Before the advent of white settlers it was inhabited by native people called the Yuin. Somewhere in the past these native people developed a relationship with a local Orca whale pod. The Orcas would drive large baleen whales (that were migrating north from Antarctica) into Twofold Bay and in the ensuing chase the baleen whales would often beach themselves trying to escape the Orcas. These beached whales soon became food for the Yuit people. The natives believed the Orcas were the re-incarnated spirits of dead tribal members.

    The first white settler in Twofold Bay was Thomas Raines who arrived in 1828. Thomas Raines was soon followed by The Imlays Brothers who arrived in 1830. Whaling was becoming big business and the Imlays brothers started hiring native Yuin men to hunt whales for them. Soon the relationship between the native Yuin’s and the Orcas became apparent, but many white men hunting alongside the Yuins were terrified of the Orcas. They would beat the Orcas with their oars and jab at them with their lances in an attempt to drive them away. It is reported that the white whalers even threw explosive devices at the Orcas in their attempt to scare the whales into leaving. This behavior by the white whaler did drive the Orcas away to the dismay of the local Yuin natives.

    Sometime in the 1840’s, it’s not exactly known when, Alexander Davidson and his son John began hunting whales from their small, bright green whaling boats in Twofold Bay. They also hired the Yuit peoples to help them but instead of fearing the Orcas they embraced them. Where whalers in the past had driven the Orcas away the Davidson family tried a different approach, something they called the “law of the tongue”. That law was simply that after a successful whale kill(with the help of the Orca whales) the Davidsons would tow the dead whale back to Twofold bay, anchor it to the bottom and go home to let the Orca whales eat. The Orcas only ate the tongue and the lips leaving the rest of the whale untouched. A few days on the bottom and the whale would float to the surface where the Davidson family would then bring it to their docks and continue with the harvest.

    Soon the Orca whales of Eden were swimming up to the Davidson’s house, breaching and splashing in an attempt to get their attention. Even in the middle of the night the Orcas would wake the Davisdons because they had driven whales into the bay. It is believed that one whale in particular named”Old Tom” even towed the Davidson whale boats out to chase the whales by taking a two inch line in his mouth and pulling the whole boat and crew with him. Even though there were other whaling families in the area this special relationship with the Orcas was only between the Davidson family in their green whale boats and this small group of whales. It is reported that the Orcas even saved members of the Davidson family from being attacked by sharks when crew members fell in the water or had their boats destroyed by whales.

    By 1900 the pod of Orca whales at Eden contained fifteen whales. Around this time one of the Orcas in the pod, a whale nicknamed Typee landed in shallow water and became stranded. Normally Typee would struggle and get off with a little help from an incoming tide. But a drunken white man named Harry Silks knifed Typee to death( it is stated that he was killed for his action that very day). The Orcas of Eden witnessed this murder and left the bay immediately. The following year only six of the whales returned. The relationship between Orca and whaler was never the same. Old Tom died in Twofold Bay in 1930. There is a museum dedicated to him and the other Orcas of Eden. Old Tom’s skeleton is preserved in this museum.

    Check the internet for more on the fascinating story.

    Would you like to learn more about Orca Whales? Would you like to view my FREE photo gallery? If so please visit me on line at Orca Whale Watching

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      My name is Harry Delgado and I am a full time Internet and Small Business developer and marketer. Over 30 years in the Computer systems development, programming, hardware installations and support. Currently making a living from blogs like HJDS Computer Services , HJDS Investment Group and HJDS BlogBiz. You can connect with me via social media sites at Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter - YouTube.

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