San Juan Islands

San Juan islands – Salish Sea, Washington

The San Juan islands area located in waters between the U.S. state of Washington and Vancouver IslandBritish ColumbiaCanada.  They are part of the state of Washington.   They are in a body of water referred to as the Salish sea.   The Selish sea is an intricate network of channels and waterways extending south into Puget Sound and north into the Strait of Georgia and  British Colombia, Canada.   The Salish sea is part of the “Inland passage”  a waterway system that is heavily travelled by cruise shipsfreighters, tugs with tows, fishing craft, pleasure craft …  …

The Salish Sea and San Juan island waterways is home to the Southern Resident Orca Pods.  Other species of whales that travel and migrate in these waterways are Grey Whales, Bigg’s orcas, Humpback Whales. Minke Whales…  

The Southern Resident Orcas are challenged by multiple factors that impact their health and wellbeing such as;   reduced quantity and quality of prey, persistent organic pollutants that could cause immune or reproductive system dysfunction, and noise and disturbance from vessels.

In 2005, the Southern Resident killer whale was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  SRKW Population (July 1, 2022): 73 whales. J Pod=25, K Pod=16, L Pod=32

The total abundance for the Southern Resident killer whale population was officially revised in July 2021, standing at at only 74 whales. However, an individual has since been presumed dead and the population currently sits at 73 whales. The first complete count of Southern Resident killer whales, which took place in 1974, found 71 whales. The population increased to its peak of 96-98 whales in the mid-1990’s following the cessation of killings and captures for marine parks, which stopped after the Marine Mammal Protection Act was enacted in 1972. “   Marine Mammal Commission

Orca Prayer Wheel

Artist: Chris Mench “Axis of Hope” Location San Juan Island, Washington