June 4, 2006 |
IT'S a wonder that anyone who lives here even owns a wristwatch. The first thing you notice about Orcasites -- the 4,500 residents of the largest of Washington's San Juan Islands -- is their patience. "Don't ever worry about missing the boat to get here," they say. "There will always be another one."
April 30, 2006 |
Fifty years ago, fishermen were still shooting at Northwest killer whales they thought were eating too many salmon. Now, thousands of visitors pay an average of $75 a trip to see the orcas in their summer habitat around the San Juan Islands. "No doubt the perception of these whales has changed from something to be feared and destroyed to something to be hugged," said orca expert Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research in the San Juan. "And now along comes too much hugging."
April 2, 2006 |
Back in December, we wrote about Luna, a sociable young orca that had adopted the waters off this remote inlet town as its home almost five years ago. A dolphin-sized 2-year-old when he showed up alone in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the orca would often rub up against boats, spray people beside the dock and allow residents to pet him and rub his tongue.
December 25, 2005 |
A sport fisherman was out on the water in August when a young killer whale suddenly approached his 20-foot craft and began to push against the auxiliary engine. The whale pushed hard enough to break the propeller. The frightened angler gunned his main engine and fled. Back at the dock, the skipper of a gillnet boat reported that he too had come close to the orca, though he had found joy in the encounter. "He was swimming right alongside the boat all the way in and surfing in the wake."
November 16, 2005 |
Puget Sound's orcas, the iconic black-and-white whales famed for their arching leaps alongside ferries and other marine traffic, were declared an endangered species by the federal government Tuesday. The designation, long sought by environmental groups, will provide "a better chance for keeping this population alive for future generations," said Bob Lohn, regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
July 9, 2005 |
The "slippery six," half a dozen killer whales whose home range is out on the Pacific Coast, are still feasting on harbor seals in the Puget Sound inlet of Hood Canal five months after their arrival -- an unprecedented stint, biologists say. They'd been reported gone on Wednesday, but were spotted again on Friday. "We're all calling back and forth," said volunteer observer Judy Dicksion, who lives near Seabeck on the 60-mile-long Hood Canal. "Everybody's like 'Oh, yeah!'
January 2, 2005 |
For a good time, follow the whales. The big boys of Planet Ocean vacation in some of the world's finest locations: the warm lagoons and bays of Hawaii and Mexico in winter, the clear waters of Canada and Alaska in summer. In some ways, they're like the seriously wealthy, tracking the sun to the world's playgrounds. The phenomenon hasn't escaped the travel industry, which thrives when the humpback, gray and blue whales come to town.
December 17, 2004 |
The Bush administration on Thursday proposed placing killer whales in Washington's Puget Sound on the list of endangered species, to keep the last 84 of these acrobatic and often photographed orcas from going extinct. The administration, which ruled two years ago that endangered species protections were unwarranted, reversed itself after a federal judge ordered it to reconsider its legal justifications.