Seeing wild orca whales for the first time is a life-changing moment, one readily found when you go on a San Juan Islands whale-watching cruise. Knowing more about the most common mammal in the local waters will help you prepare for the adventure and instill a sense of what makes these whales amazing.
Scientists are fascinated with this creature because of its historic reputation and amazing qualities. An icon across the world’s oceans, orca whales are considered second only to humans in possessing diverse and complex linguistics, social interaction, and ecological attributes. These are enough to capture the interest of both scientists and marine wildlife watchers.
Knowing how orca whales look will help you identify them easier while whale watching. They are the largest in the dolphin family. Their conical head and a robust, heavy, torpedo-like body, along with a unique black body with white swashes near the eye and under the belly give them distinction from other whales and dolphins.
Because of the their agility in the water, orca whales are fun to watch. For instance, “spy hopping,” a term for breaching the surface while appearing to take a look around, is particularly entertaining. They often slap their tails and gracefully leap out of the water. They also exhibit one of the fastest swimming speeds among sea mammals at 34 mph.
Orca whales are definitely a magical creature; seeing them in the wild is an opportunity worth seizing. You can do so by calling a whale-watching charter company on the San Juan Islands.