Great Orca Whale Encounter #8

San Juan Island Sea KayakKayaking with orcas over the years has allowed my groups to observe these amazing whales traveling, feeding, spy-hopping, sleeping, porpoising and breaching but never mating. That all changed on a three-day September trip in the San Juan Islands a few years back! We were hugging the shore and staying inside the kelp line to avoid a pesky ebbing tide one morning. Coming around a rocky headland, we almost literally ran into a couple of whales lying close, belly to belly and almost motionless on the surface of a glassy sea. We stopped in the kelp bed immediately, rafted up and watched events unfold. The whales were a female and a male. We thought, at first, that they were dead or asleep, but a bit of motion and then snorts of breath relieved our worried minds. After a few minutes, the bull orca floated away from the female and rolled onto his back, exposing the truth: THE TWO HAD BEEN MATING! We had just witnessed an intimate moment and the possible conception of a baby whale to be born about 17 months hence! We were astounded to say the least! With one last blow, the two orcas submerged and disappeared into the dark blue waters, leaving us with eyes as big as saucers, feeling a bit guilty for our intrusion but with memories to last our lifetimes!