While the name “Killer Whale” is a rather disturbing title, (trust me on this, I would not want to be a salmon in the water when they are around) they have shown no aggression toward humans.
In the many years Outdoor Odysseys has been running sea kayaking tours on the west side, with literally hundreds of guests, we have never had any incident where the whales tipped over, breached, or made any antagonistic move towards our kayaks. Over the years many of our guests have had the thrill of their lives when whales have passed sometimes within 10 yards of our boats- but again we have never had a situation where they made any hostile or aggressive move towards our boats.
The whales tend to go about their business as usual in the presence of humans in their marine habitat. What is that business you ask? They do many of the same things we do in our daily lives. Like us they are mammals who breathe oxygen and nurse their young. They have a highly evolved communication system and are incredibly intelligent, social animals. They hunt, play, socialize and mate.
Their diet is composed primarily of salmon – lots of salmon – up to 200 pounds a day! So they have no interest in making a “Happy Meal” out of the fiberglass sea kayaks we utilize to venture into their territory. Regardless, it is important to maintain a safe distance from these large animals while kayaking in the San Juan Islands, as innocent play to them, might seem like a monster truck rally to us.