SAN JUAN ISLAND, Wash. -- Two groups of orcas made an appearance together near San Juan Island Tuesday.
Three residents captured photos and video of the visit, calling it an amazing encounter.
It's such an honor to me that they came in to say hello to all of us, said Chris Teren, a photographer. There is nothing quite like watching these huge animals swimming so gracefully through the water, and choosing to come close to shore to play and frolic in the open ocean, right at our feet.
The island residents reported seeing the J pod and part of the L pod, the L12s, together right by the Lime Kiln Lighthouse.
I quite simply haven't the words to describe today, said Katie Jones. Easily one of my best encounters ever with J pod and L pod.
The group included Granny, an orca estimated to be around 103 years old. Orcas are identified based on their saddle patch and dorsal fins.
Related:World's oldest orca, 103-year-old Granny, spotted off B.C. coast
It was a massive killer whale parade, said Traci Walter. They slowly cruised by in tight formations and lines. Spyhopping, rolling on top of one another. Lots of social activity.
Walter, who captured videos and photos of the encounter, said the group of more than 15 whales came as close as 100 feet from the shoreline.
This is what made it special, being so close to these incredible animals, she said.
Jones and Walter are Naturalists with the Western Prince Whale Watching and Wildlife Tours, and Jones previously worked with Center for Whale Research.