We were very lucky on our quest to see killer whales yesterday. We spotted quite a few of them, just south of Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia, not too far from the shoreline at the airport. Sockeye salmon are spawning right now — heading toward the Fraser River — but they have to get past all of these killers and a flotilla of fishermen in order to get there. Competition is unusually fierce this season, with far fewer numbers of salmon than in years past. According to an article by the Vancouver Sun, the wild salmon population has declined 80% since 1990. As a result, resident killer whales roam a larger territory more frequently, moving back and forth across the Strait of Georgia in search of food. Over-fishing and global warming are increasingly affecting these amazing creatures.

Granny, identified by the small notch in her dorsal fin and gray patch at the base

Granny, identified by the small notch in her dorsal fin and gray patch at the base

In captivity, female orcas live to be about 30 years but yesterday we saw the J Pod matriarch — a female named Granny, estimated to be ONE HUNDRED FIVE YEARS OLD. Granny even has her own Wikipedia page! Can you imagine the changes she has experienced in her lifetime? Would you give up eating wild salmon if you knew it would benefit the ocean ecosystem around you, and Granny as well?

As another world-renowned elder would say: Do or do not. There is no try.

13 comments

  1. Lovely photos! We saw many killer whales a few years ago during a multiday kayak trip near Telegraph Cove in northern Vancouver Island, one of my best travel experiences ever. You are so lucky to live in such a breathtakingly beautiful environment!

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    1. Hey LTE! Thank you! Wow, killer whales from kayaks! Cool. They’re such amazing creatures — I can see why that ranks among your best-ever travel experiences. Yes, I am lucky to be here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  2. Beautiful creatures, and I love the elder quotation. Easy for me to say I’d give up salmon because I already have! 🙂 However, that sentiment could be applied to other parts of my life where I’ve been content to just try.

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  3. Such beautiful animals and how I’d love to have seen them as you’ve shown here…in the wild and living. There were a pod of orcas that made their way up the Puget Sound and to Hood Canal earlier in the year that I missed while in HK. You are a very lucky girl to have seen such a sight, love the first shot you have here. I do not think many orcas will be coming through HK Harbour… Very good question about eating wild salmon, I’d agree I suppose but boy do I like my salmon…the deep red/orange of a good sockeye 🙂

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  4. Great animal photography of my favourite animal! Have been there myself on the quest to find me some Orca… Will be heading to Iceland to see more:-) Wonderful blog you have!!
    Kind regards
    Ali”Fox”

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