It was a beautiful warm, clear summer day. We were staying in the marina at Roche Harbor. Our neighbor, who was staying for the summer, was listening over her radio for reports of Orca sightings. Someone reported 3 or 4 so she invited us to go out and take a look. We had barely cleared the harbor into the channel when they suddenly started surfacing all around us and as far as we could see. So lucky! ????? We turned off the engine and just watched. It seemed like all the Southern Residents were in one place doing all the fabulous stuff they do.
They were all around our boat (18 footer), sticking their faces out of the water looking at us, close enough to touch (we didn’t). We could see teeth, tongues, eyes and got wet with spray. We saw one dark shadow pass under the boat and then a big male surfaced in front of us. Both he and us escaped a hit from that 6′ dorsal. A mother and juvenile hung around a lot spy hopping repeatedly. Then after showing off (I think they did all their cool stuff!), playing around and churning the water up – so much activity – they headed Southwest toward Lime Kiln mostly swimming near the surface for a bit – lots of fins. They seemed to stream past us for a long time. I have spoken about this just a few times over the years. It is a very vivid memory. Have seen orcas a time or two since but only at a great distance. A completely stunning experience. Still leaves me breathless all these years later.