Bird flying over the sea by the San Juan islands, USA.




Far into the distance a flume of water evaporated against the sun; a temporary rainbow sparkling inside a cloud. And then again. And now, only a few hundred meters from the boat, she broke the surface and, in an instant, cartwheeled through the air, creating the most spectacular sight I have ever seen. A small child on the boat cried out, with the utmost sincerity, "What a magnificent creature!" I could feel it too: the allure of the Orcas, and their presence. People had gathered along the shoreline to watch the Orcas pass, and every noise seemed to be drowned in an unwavering sea of connection linking me to the scene as I watched. They hugged the shoreline, searching for the early season Chinook salmon. At one point, a young Orca lifted itself slowly out of the ocean belly first, turning itself to reveal the gleaming black and white pattern of its body before slapping through the surface. The word mesmerising does not even begin to describe it. 

Many belief systems see the ocean as the source of all life, including our commonly held Evolutionary paradigm. Some indigenous groups of the Americas believe that Orcas are guardians of heritage, holding within them a spark of the original creative source. Watching an Orca from a boat, seeing that gentle spray of their spout and the deep inhale they take before a dive, may also teach us the power of the breath - of respiration - an important resource of life on Earth.


je respire
...I breath...


Those scientists who have studied Orca will also attest to their creative nature, in the form of play. Orcas exhibit playful behaviours that are seemingly unlinked to their practical ones, behaviours such as breachingspyhopping, and tail slaps. When two pods of Orca meet after a long time apart, they will undertake a kind of greeting ritual, in which the two groups face one another and slowly merge until they are intermingled. While this is happening, they will vocalise and express their excitement through playful behaviour. 

This kind of social interaction is not unusual for Orcas, as they are highly social and sentient creatures. Studies have shown that the part of an Orcas brain relating to social thoughts and feelings is relatively larger than that of a humans, and thus their social bonds may be even stronger. It has even been noted that the Orcas of the Southern Resident Community work within a matriarchal social system - both male and female offspring stay with their mothers the entirety of their lives. 


...I belong...


Perhaps these are the reasons we feel so sad when we see an Orca in captivity. To capture an Orca, to take it out of its habitat and away from its family, is to oppress its natural creativity and social feelings. Conversely, an Orca in the wild is a reminder of the pure and powerful forces of creativity, expression and feeling. 


je me souviens de se sentir
...I am reminded to feel...


Life saver on the ferry to the San Juan islands, near Seattle.
Nicole's hair blowing in the wind as we sail along the coast in the San Juans.
Humpback whale near the San Juan islands.
Baby orca doing a half breach, along the coast of the San Juan islands.
Two Orcas spouting sea water in plumes by the coast.
Looking at the sea through a telescope.
Beautiful green and lush alpine islands in the San Juan area.
Swathes of clouds in the sky, on a sunny day in the San Juan islands.
Huge male orca with a fin the size of a small boat!