I remember this encounter like it were yesterday. The sound of synchronized orca breathing, the lapping of the saltwater against the hull of the boat, and the sheer joy in the voices of my friends who shared this moment in time with me
We had motored up the Strait of Georgia for over an hour in the hopes of finding Group A of J Pod, who had been reported up north earlier in the day.
When we found them, they were travelling slowly southward toward us, most trailing eelgrass from their shimmering dorsal fins. J2 “Granny” was leading, as usual, alongside J37 “Hy’Shqa,” J49 “T’ilem I’nges” and L87 “Onyx.”
One of my favourite memories of this encounter was observing J51 “Nova” zigzagging back-and-forth between his mother, J41 “Eclipse,” and J2 “Granny,” whom he would periodically roll over playfully. It seemed as J51 desperately wanted to spend time with her!
Interestingly, there seemed to be a bit of a miscommunication in direction with the pod between the J14/J19 matrilines and the J16 matriline. We observed several tail-slaps from J2 “Granny” and J37 “Hy’Shqa” in the lead, who seemed to be tail-slapping with a purpose.
We were all completely silent on the boat as we watched J2 “Granny” lead her natal pod through the waters she had travelled in for perhaps a century.
Unbeknownst to me, this would be my final encounter with J2 “Granny.” I, however, wouldn’t have had it any other way. I will remember this evening forever and treasure my time with her. Rest in peace.