The San Juan Islands are one of the most privileged places in the world for whale watching, since they are home to 3 pods of Southern Resident Killer Whales, also known as orcas. As of December 2016, the orca population on the islands was 78, which is why they are on the endanger species list. You can observe these massive beauties from a safe distance on a charter services and sometimes from shore.. If you’re planning on going whale watching around the San Juan Islands, here are some things you should know first.
What to Wear
In the open water, the weather tends to be breezier and it is possible that you will get wet, so make sure to wear warm yet comfortable layers of clothing. Also, this will protect you from the sun due to the reflective water. You might not be aware of the sun due to the wind or the ocean spray, but the ocean’s water will magnify the sun’s rays and you can get a sunburn without even noticing until the end of the day.
What to Bring
Be sure to bring a waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Bring sunglasses that offer UV protection since you will be staring out into the ocean and the water will be reflecting the sun’s UV rays. This can be rather fatiguing without sunglasses. Moreover, whale watching is a mesmerizing experience that deserves to be documented, so make sure to bring your camera.
Remember that you will be observing the whales from a safe distance, so be sure to use long-range zoom lenses to get the best shots. If you prefer to live in the moment, be sure to bring binoculars with proper magnification to enjoy the beauty of these animals up close.
If you are prone to excessive motion or seasickness, be sure to get a prescription from your physician for medication that can reduce or prevent the symptoms associated to this condition as a precaution. Otherwise, over-the-counter medications, or even ginger snap cookies may do the trick. Also, there are some useful tips you can put into practice to prevent feeling dizzy, such as keeping your head as still as possible and avoiding heavy meals and alcoholic beverages before you set out to sea.
Best time of day to go
The time of day doesn’t really have a significant impact on the amount of whales you’ll see, but it does make a difference in the weather you will experience. Ocean waters tend to be calmer during the morning, which is great if you’re particularly susceptible to sea sickness. On the other hand, cruises that take place later during the day can benefit from knowing where the whales were spotted earlier.
Best Season to Go
The Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) or orcas are residents of the San Juan Islands, located in the Salish Sea. The migration pattern of orcas is mostly determined by where the food source is, and so is influenced by herring or salmon migration. Many times, all three pods of the Southern Resident Killer Whales have been observed in late spring when they return to the inland waters of the Salish Sea.
What to Look For
Orcas are massive yet magnificent animals that display a wide range of behaviors in their natural habitat. Some of the behaviors to look out for are the blow, which happens when they exhale. This sends water vapor high into the air through their blowhole and creates a distinctive sound, alerting you to their presence. One of the most stunning behaviors of these graceful behemoths is breaching, which happens when they leap into the air exposing almost the entirety of their bodies before splashing back down into the water. Other behaviors you might see are spy-hops (the whale raises its head above the water and then slips back into the water), fin slaps, and you may even see them roll around in the water!
There is no doubt that these animals are a sight to behold, so make sure you take this information into consideration when you plan your next whale watching trip so you don’t miss a thing.
Behaviors, Whaleresearch.com https://www.whaleresearch.com/orca-behaviors
Southern Resident Killer Whale Population, Whaleresearch.com
9 Whale Watching Tips, Thoughtco.com Principio del formulario