Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands: Getting to Know the Majestic Beauties

In the San Juan Islands, massive marine mammals are studied and monitored by the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, a museum that teaches tourists the importance of protecting the oceans and keeping the endangered orcas alive. They perform extensive research to keep track of each whale that swims through the Salish Sea.

An orca pod can contain a dozen to several dozen individual whales, and there are three active pods (J, K, and L) that can be seen often in the San Juan Islands. Interestingly enough, the locals and the nonprofit groups who work together to protect these creatures can easily identify the pods by their markings and other behaviors. As a matter of fact, they lovingly denote many of the whale with both a code number and a name. Orcas average life-span is around 50 years old. There are orcas in the pods who are less than two years old. A whale in J-pod, affectionately named “Granny” recently passed away was estimated to be over 100-years old.
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