As we set out, it was great to be on the water. I was fascinated by the forest of algae underneath us in many locations of our trip. You could see so much from the kayak, including rock beaches, houses and sailboats traveling in the distance. You could not experience all this any other way!
After lunch, we headed back to our original destination. Not long after launching, our orca experience started! I remember seeing a whale tail ahead of us and almost jumped out of the kayak seat in excitement. Soon, fins started to approach us. People would ask me if I was scared, but all you can feel is pure excitement. As their closeness and massiveness approached, there was a silent ‘ahh’ surrounding the group. Orcas kept coming by us heading north, mostly traveling. You could see them playing, spy hopping and breaching ahead of us after they passed, but one did breach near us, who I later identified as Slick. Another orca swam between us and the coast, and underneath the murky water you could recognize the white coloring of the whale’s underside, swimming slowly on her side.
Just after the orcas passed us, and we made our way towards them, the J-pod turned around heading south, right by us again. You could hear the orcas all around us by their incredible sounds of breath. It was as if they were singing a miraculous song to us and dancing by. At one point, two fins were coming close and went below the water. I knew their next breath of air could be anywhere right next to us. They came up about 5 feet away and I exhaled in astonishment as they exhaled in breath. This was an experience I could not have imagined and still get shivers of marvel when I think of it!
Chelsea – Portland, Oregon