Yesterday I was tasked with proving that two whales still breathed. The first was old favorite J1, and the second was J-pod's newborn calf. Infant mortality with orcas is very high, so we all cringe every time one isn't seen for a while.

It was a great day. Old J1 surfaced right next to me, dousing my boat's windows and making me wonder who on earth has a hard time finding this whale, what with his enormous dorsal fin and pronounced lack of shyness.


I found the baby, too, happily wedged between its mother, brother, and sister. Once it became clear that I was paparazzi stalking their sibling, the brother and sister went batshit, breaching and tail slapping and generally telling me to piss off. As soon as I stopped my engines, they resumed passive guard duty. Of course, passive guard duty isn't very photogenic, so I had to resist the temptation to gun the engines.

Baby pictures are the holy grail among my type. I'd show you Minette's shot, but somehow she didn't hear about these whales until it was too late.

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Spyhop of protective big sister, with Cascade mountains in background


Photographically, one of my favorite sights: orcas swimmin' straight at me at dusk