As we headed off into the Strait of Georgia on our afternoon trip, our anticipation grew. We had received a thrilling report of a pod of orcas socializing just off Point Roberts, and while no boats were currently with them, we headed that way in hopes of tracking them down. Armed with binoculars, our eyes scanned the vast expanse of the sea, hoping for that elusive glimpse. With luck on our side, the whales made no effort to conceal their presence.
An impressive two miles out, we spotted them – the magnificent T036A family, a tight-knit group of six, including two adorable young ones.
The waters came alive as the T036A’s indulged in a display of playfulness. Spyhops, breaching, tail slapping, piggybacks, and more– they were thoroughly immersed in their games, creating an enthralling spectacle for all of us watching.
For an entire hour, they played, weaving through the water with a sense of connection that touched our hearts and showed the true emotion that these whales thrive on. This particular encounter provided a rare opportunity to observe these incredible creatures with minimal intrusion. The surrounding boats, captivated by the orcas’ antics, decided to all shut off their engines, granting the whales the space, silence, and serenity they deserved.
Against the majestic backdrop of Mount Baker, whose soaring peak loomed in the distance, the orcas performed their aquatic acrobatics. A dream come true for any photographer, I had longed to capture this moment for two years. And finally I was given the opportunity for the perfect shot – T036A2 “Kailas” breached gloriously, the glacier-covered face of Baker forming a breathtaking backdrop.
Though a framing error obscured the tip of the stratovolcano in my photo, it did little to diminish the awe-inspiring sight. This encounter was undoubtedly a highlight of my season, leaving an indelible mark on everyone’s memories. And since that day, the T036a family has graced us with their presence time and again, hanging around for almost 3 weeks straight now! A testament to the wonders of the natural world, their playful frolicking reminds us of the delicate beauty and intelligence that thrives in our oceans and our duty to protect it.