Wednesday, May 20, 2009

R is for Ruffles

As mentioned in yesterday's post on J Pod, we followed these orcas northward along the west coast of San Juan Island for about 40 miniutes last Friday morning. One of the easiest orcas to identify in the J pod group (which at the moment numbers about 25 whales) is the big fella named J1, seen here swimming three abreast with two other orcas. He is also known as "Ruffles" because of the slightly wavy trailing edge of his six foot dorsal fin. His estimated age is about fifty eight years old. Ruffles was the first orca of J pod to be identified in a study that began in 1976, thus he carries the number 1. More about the pods that make up the Southern Resident Community of orca whales can be found here.

Can't say enough about the great service PS Express whale watching and wildlife tours provides for visitors to Port Townsend. Thanks to Skipper Pete Hanke and his family who use their many years of experience in the business to make a trip with them an enjoyable and memorable adventure.



Many more R posts can be found today at ABC Wednesday.

14 comments:

Small City Scenes said...

Wowzer!! Awesome shot. Mighty Orcas. thanks for taking us with you. MB

Bibi said...

Ruffles is cute. Does he know he has a potato chip named after him? :)

Abe Lincoln said...

Absolutely lovely to see this. I hope the oceans can remain clean and the animals in them alive.

Babooshka said...

You can thank Pete and family from me too for these posts. Abe, wise words. I'm amazed at how close you can get and so so envious. Excellent choice.

RuneE said...

When I first saw the picture I thought it was some kind of fancy speed boat or naval vessel. Then I saw what it was - amazing, both text and picture.

Hilda said...

Fantastic capture, Raf! Love the name Ruffles too. Sounds like a marvelous tour! But more than that, it's the fact that the pod is being protected that's truly wonderful.

Olivier said...

superbe photo, un très beau spectacle
superb photo, a beautiful spectacle

Lily Hydrangea said...

this must be so exciting to see!
I love the name "Ruffles", perfect for todays post.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, Raf! what a terrific shot! They are so beautiful! Always thrills me when I can catch a glimpse of them! Great R word for the day!

Tumblewords: said...

Exciting! I've seen lots of them in various places and never fail to be absolutely awed by their size and ability. Fantastic shot!

Kim said...

Exciting to see these pod members with you, Raf! My stars, to think old Ruffles is way older than me. . .what stories might he tell of the trips down to Mexico and back, the swims in the open ocean, the family members he's interacted with. I wonder what whale's memories are like?

We once encountered L Pod on a vessel out of Friday harbor, up near the Canadian border. Half the pod swam up to and right under our boat. It was thrilling to sit there still in the water and watch their graceful forms, see their power and agility in the water. It renews a sense of wonder to observe them. And sad to see some very obvious scars made by encounters with ships.

I'm so glad you had a great time out there with the captain and his fam.
-Kim

jay said...

Oooh, Ruffles!! We went on a whale watching boat trip when we were in Vancouver two years ago, and saw J pod!

It was a wonderful experience and the whales are indeed awesome. We saw porpoises, too!

Great pic of Ruffles!

amatamari said...

This is a memorable shot!
Thanks!!!

Dragonstar said...

What an incredible experience that must have been. I would love to be able to see all that.