It’s day one of the first northbound trip of the season, and we have already set expectations through the roof. We’re bound for Southeast Alaska and just spent the day in Desolation Sound in southern British Columbia. The skies were cloudless, the sea state near glass, the skyline saw-toothed with glaciated peaks.

As we slid toward our anchorage an unexpected disturbance ruffled the water’s mirror surface. Dolphins. Lots of them. Approximately 100 Pacific white-sided dolphins, all porpoising west towards the mouth of the fjord system we just entered. Spotting our vessel, they made a slight detour past our bow before continuing on. As we watched them pass five more dolphins, their largest cousin the killer whale, joined the fray and completely changed the dynamic! Following close behind the group, these killer whales closed the gap before isolating one of the white-sided dolphins and tossing it into the air like a rag doll. Lots of rapid maneuvers preceded this powerful blow, indicating that these were marine-mammal-hunting transient killer whales; they were likely training the youngster in the group how to hunt.