We just learned the our favorite orca whale J1/Ruffles has been missing since November and has likely passed away. We’ll be sad to start the 2011 season without him. We did have a special evening with him the last time we saw him. It was late in the evening on October 3. J pod had all passed by and the whale watch boats had left. The sun was setting and we too were thinking about leaving when Ruffles slowly came around the point. He was alone. We continued to drift and wait for him to pass.
Our passengers were thrilled to spend time alone with an orca whale and we expected him to continue past us, but instead he turned and slowly made his way to the boat. We wondered if it was the sound of our antique engine that drew him. When he was young, engines like ours would have been common. He next turned and paralleled the David B until he got to our stern. He surfaced and paused in place. It seemed as if he was looking at the back of the boat. He dove, then swam under the boat and surfaced off the bow. He kept moving slowly in the direction of the the rest of J-Pod. We watched him as he headed down Haro Strait in into the sunset. It was a sweet and accidental goodbye.