It was unusual in a few ways.
Not that they were spread all across Haro Strait. That has become common.
But unusual in seeing: no J Pod whales, 8 K Pod whales, and 5 L Pod whales, when there were actually 60 SRKWs present.
And to go along with that there were many K and L Pod calls and only a few J Pod calls, way in the distance.
The visual and the acoustic helped put it all together.
There was also something that, for this year, was unusual.
With all the information, publications, on-line and TV information about the importance of respecting the whales' space...there was one person, in what looked like a river kayak, who actually left the shoreline and went out and was turning one direction as they saw a whale and then turning to 'follow' it and then turning again another was spotted..
So what's the big deal?
Become an orca for a few minutes here...
"I use sound, I use my echolocation, I use my communication with other orcas as I navigate my waters. So when I see a 'log (aka kayak)' on the water I make note of the object. I now have something to pay attention to. Usually a 'log' bobs along with the current so it's no big deal. But when the 'log' keeps changing direction I now have to take time away from my foraging/travel/watching out for my little ones, etc. to make sure that 'log' doesn't get too close. There isn't any noise from that 'log' but it's not normal for a 'log' to act this way. And it sure gets in the way of my chasing after a meal when I have to pay attention to an 'unreliable' object."
Just because you don't have a motor does not mean you have no impact on the orcas' world. Staying tight to shore in the kelp, out of the path of the whales, a person still gets to 'be there' with them without disturbing the whales.
In this instance it was sad to see a person on shore encouraging this behavior. So it opened the door to have conversation about what had occurred. Hopefully there is greater understanding by one more person.
Think of the whales first, please.
This is their home and not ours.