Good Day at the Office

  Contributed by Phinn Onens Picture this; there is an eerie morning fog which envelopes the calm and quiet waters of Blackney Pass when suddenly a group of Orca emerge in unison. The sound of their blows, like canons firing, carry far across the water. As we watched from our station on Hanson Island, you […]

The 2012 Season Begins

July 11, 2012 – Post by Natalie We, the assistants, have arrived on Hanson Island for the summer of 2012. We first bonded by going on a hike on Hanson Island to a little cove called Dong Chong Bay. We were awed by the beautiful old cedar tree that OrcaLab has named “Grandmother cedar” which […]


It was the May long weekend and the anticipation of the total solar eclipse was high.  The days heading up to the event were sunny and clear, but the forecast didn’t look good for the day of.  The forecast was correct.  The skies clouded over and a strong SE wind was due to blow in.  […]

the return of summer

The forest floor is starting to go reddish-orange around here, as the cedars shed their summer cloak, and the mornings have a distinct chill about them that comes with fog and feels like fall.  So we know the season is changing.   From what has been happening with the orcas lately, though, you’d think we were […]

when the (resident) orcas are away

It’s been rather uncanny over the years, to note how often the space left by absent resident orcas is filled by transient orcas, who somehow manage to show up and save a thin whale watching day.  It is difficult to know whether this is a real phenomenon, or an observational artifact.  One might  reasonably suppose […]

July: a long way between bites

This summer (2010) in Johnstone Strait seems “normal” in some ways, but there have been worrying aspects to what is happening too.  The first arrivals came pretty much when we expected them, early in July (3rd).  As usual, they were an “A” clan matriline, this time the A36 brothers, Plumper (A37) and Kaikash (A46).  They […]

Leo – September 10th 2009

Leo Over a week has passed since our dearest dog friend, Leo, left us, creating a break in the rhythm of our lives that will persist for a long time to come.  We constantly find ourselves doing little things based on the expectation that he is there – a subtle adjustment of a foot, stepping […]

An auspicious beginning – June 21st 2009

The summer orca “season” in Johnstone Strait began on June 19th with a marvelous visit by Simoom’s “A34” family.  We first heard them just after they entered Johnstone Strait, via Weynton Pass, at 12:25pm, after which they headed east casually, spread out.  When they were first sighted, off Big Bay on Hanson Island, by Jim […]

An uneasy time for orcas – March 16th 2009

An uneasy time for orcas The “resident” orcas of the Pacific Northwest have evolved their lifestyle and organized their communities around the easy availability and predictable habits of the salmon they rely on for food.  For thousands of years, 5 species of salmon spawned in coastal rivers and streams, the progeny making their way out […]

Springer’s summer – October 4th 2005

Like the touch of fine silk caressing skin, Springer’s presence amidst her community was barely noticeable this summer. She was there, but she has become integrated so well that it was often difficult to find her among the crowd of other orcas visiting Johnstone Strait. By no means invisible, and still clearly identifiable via her […]