Mother orca heading to the water's surface off of Swanson Island in Blackfish Sound, British Columbia. Her reflection is created by the surface tension of the flat water.
I Spy Reflection
A baby orca stands on its tail to look above the surface and see the environment around it. This head-poking is called spyhopping. Passengers on whale watching boats have been known to cheer or applaud spyhopping. The eye-to-eye connection with the orcas is incredible if you're close, and a great reminder of how similar and famiiar orcas seem to us.
Dolphins vs. Orca
Wow! We watched a pod of Pacific Whitesides Dolphins harass, bump, block, jump on and interfere with one specific orca for a couple of hours today. ..The dolphins are up to 8 feet long and 400 pounds. Orcas are 25 feet long and up to 20,000 pounds. Yet the dolphins are relentless in their contact with this particular "resident" orca, breaking off only when the largest adult male orcas were in the vicinity. ..Theories abound about this harassing behavior. To me, it suggested diverting the orca from salmon - but I couldn't figure out why this particular orca from his pod...Resident orcas only eat fish. Marine biologists wryly note that dolphins do not attempt this behavior with "transient" or meat-eating orcas that eat the red meat of seals, sea lions, sharks and dolphins.
Orcas feeding in the rich waters of Favorite Channel off of Juneau, Alaska. Eagle Glacier looms in the background. August 2011.