A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eric and the Orcas

Rainy Day was just thinking she ought to at least consider taking a vacation from her blog when her good friend Eric, sent the following story. I thought it was great, and he gave permission for me to post it. Unfortunately, because neither Eric nor I had cameras, there are no photos for this blog; however, there are many images online. 


On Saturday my buddy and I were searching for pink salmon ("humpies") along the west side of San Juan Island.  We found schools of them moving up the shoreline, jumping and nosing above the surface.  It was a simple matter to motor a hundred yards out in front of a school, shut off the engine, and wait for them to come to us.  Casting a buzz-bomb lure anywhere near the group resulted in it being chased by a dozen fish all the way back to the boat -- I have never seen anything like it! 

Yesterday we went out again, and this time the ladies joined us.  At around noon, humpies began to appear on the surface and we went to work.  Shortly after we stopped, one of the local resident populations of orcas moved in to feed on the same schools of salmon.  It was a large area, and eight or nine killer whales moved around the fishing fleet (including a couple of lone fishermen in kayaks) without any cause for concern.  It's a common occurrence in the San Juan Islands so we just watched and kept fishing, ready to pull our lines out of the water if they got close. 

Paul hooked a salmon and played it most of the way to the boat.  Vanessa stood by with the net, but the fish wasn't yet tired enough to be taken in.  Then two orcas, a mother and calf, headed in our direction.  There was no cause for real alarm -- until they came straight at us.  From our bird's-eye view up on the bow, Christie and I shouted a warning to the others, and they made a last lunge with the net.  Vanessa hauled the salmon out of the water a fraction of a second before mother orca emerged from directly under the boat, angled up at hunting speed with mouth open. 

Losing the salmon to her would not have been an issue by itself.  We would gladly have forfeited it except for the risk of fouling her on our tackle or net, so we literally snatched lunch from the orca's jaws.  On that note, there was no worry about mom going hungry -- plenty of humpies around for everyone!  The only regret is that there were no cameras at the ready; but this picture is forever imprinted in my memory.


Rainy Day is very glad that her friends got the fish, and the Orca Mommy didn't, for just the reasons listed above. Rainy Day also considers herself very fortunate that as a young girl sailing with her Uncle Carl, she got to see a pod of orcas as they swam next to the boat. That was the same day she saw a herring ball! And, like Eric and his friends, there wasn't a camera in sight, so her memories must remain just that – Kodak Moments of the Mind. Rainy Day thinks orcas are some of the most beautiful animals in the world and she is just a wee bit jealous of Eric and his story. Especially since he only shared the story, and none of the salmon.

For those of you not familiar with the San Juan Islands they are, according to Wikipedia, "an archipelago in the northwest corner of the contiguous United States between the US mainland and Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada." The San Juan Islands are part of the Washington State. There is a nice map on the site and some very interesting information. Rainy Day suggests you check it out.
Have you ever had an up close and personal moment with a wild orca? Another wild critter? Rainy Day would love to hear about it. Please click on the underlined word, comments, below and a comment box should magically appear for your use.

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