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Interrupted by Orcas


By Dai Mar Tamarack, Expedition Guide on the Safari Quest

It was day two of the first trip of our season. We were at an anchoring near Spencer Spit on Lopez Island, part of the San Juan Islands. The morning was beautiful and still, perfect for open paddle and a skiff tour. After sending out the kayakers and the skiff tour we got a radio call from the Hotel Manager who had just seen some large fins breaking the surface out of the dining room window. Sure enough, a pod of orcas was breaking the surface nearby. We quickly redirected the skiff tour and gathered up the kayakers.

In typical UnCruise flexibility we immediately changed gears and brought around our second skiff to fill up with kayakers, crew, and those guests relaxing on the boat. Both skiffs now headed towards the swimming orcas. It turned out to be a group of five, including a baby and a large male. They were very playful, staying in one area and zipping back and forth. Several times we saw them leap out of the water and other times they would whip their tail up before bringing it down with a splash.

We sat there and stayed with the orca for about 30 minutes. The most amazing part is that we were the only boats around. It was our own intimate, private orca show. What a way to start the season.

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