On the fourth day of our vacation the orcas arrived. We saw a far away glimpse of them the first day we arrived and earlier in the morning on the fourth day, but around noon we saw a show that in my life I doubt I'll ever see anything like it again.
For about an hour and a half the J Pod whales jumped, rolled and danced in front of us. We followed them around the point to cliffside. I was as close as a metre and a half away while one swam by upside down in front of me. It was truly magical, I single teared a couple of times, laughed, clapped and oohed and ahhed like I was eight years old. Easily one of the most amazing moments I've ever had. It was a combination of the whales themselves, Hannah in my arms, my best friends there with me, on my favourite island, on a sunny day - perfection.
Our camera battery didn't cooperate during the whale show, but our friend Peder took amazing shots and those are what you're looking at.
After doing some research online, reading through people's accounts of the activity it looks like we saw the J Pods and at least 15-20 transient whales as well.
Taken from The Whale Museum
A pod is an extended family containing maternal groups composed of mothers and their offspring. Some of these family units have as many as four generations traveling together. The resident killer whales in the San Juan Islands have three pods: J, K, and L.J Pod is presently composed of 27 individuals. One of the oldest matriarch orcas, Granny (J-2), is in J Pod. They are seen most frequently along the western shore of San Juan Island and are the only pod seen on a semi-regular basis throughout the winters in Puget Sound proper.
K Pod is Composed of 19 individuals, K Pod is most frequently seen during May and June when they patrol the western shore of San Juan Island almost daily in search of salmon.
L Pod, with 42 members, L Pod is the largest of the Southern Resident pods. Because it is such a large pod, L Pod frequently breaks off into separate subgroups. It is relatively rare to see the entire pod traveling together.