We thought the best was behind us as we settled in for the long crossing of the
Strait of Georgia.
The soothing waltz of the engine had some of us snoozing and I was
making my way through a book when Captain Jeffrey called out, “Whales!”
We grabbed cameras and scrambled up on deck.
A big orca rolled by so close we could see the saddle of gray on his back. These relatives of the dolphin can get to be twenty to thirty feet long. This was only one of a group, called a pod, which was surfacing from the waves near our boat.
We caught a glimpse of a small fin near one of the larger whales and guessed it was a youngster with its mom.
We continued to watch and, sure enough, there he was, swimming in the protective custody of his babysitters.
The orcas seemed to be pretty relaxed about our company. As our cameras clicked away one of the big guys, weighing several tons, leaped out of the water…
…and came splashing down with a force we could almost feel.
Not to be outdone, another breached nearby, only he raised the bar by coming down on his back.
He landed with a flap and we could see the white underside of his tail.
The huge predators played in the water nearby for several minutes while we gawked and grinned in amazement.
These small whales have 40 to 50 four-inch teeth and have been known to grab seals off the beach or an ice flow. We were awed and a bit spooked to see them so up close and personal.
Then, with a wave of a tail, they disappeared from view.
The David B continued on her journey.
The next afternoon we were back on the dock in
. Our thanks go to Jeffrey and
Christine Smith; captain, chef and unforgettable companions, for taking us on
an adventure of a lifetime. Bellingham Bay, Washington