Tuesday, November 18, 2014

11/17-18/14 Vocal J Pod, Humpback, and Barking Sea Lion


Monday, November 17th
...at about 2 a.m. Transient calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...only for a few minutes and very distant...

...two nights ago at about 11pm I heard K pod calls...not sure about Ls or Js...but I didn't know a direction...so when I heard, via the grapevine, that Simon of Ocean Ecoventures got word that lots of whales had exited Active Pass going north yesterday morning (11/16)...well, that must have been them...but it was still a mystery as to who and where...
...then at 8:45 a.m. this morning (11/17), I'm talking to Ivan of the Western Prince who is telling me that Traci saw Residents at Turn Pt. and they were heading down...oh, goodie..."wait, I hear calls right now, but they are faint!"...so some were coming from the north...but were there others to the south?...throw on the winter clothes, watch the icy roads and get to the park to go find out...
...all I did was wait and wait but no whales in sight...then my phone rang and I was soon on the Center for Whale Research boat, Chimo, with Dave Ellifrit...we knew that whales were spread out...but that far?!
...one here, one there...they would surface once and be gone...who was present?...
...the first whale we saw was Onyx L-87 - ATTENTION PLEASE! - he is the one who travels with J pod and mainly Group A of J pod...so we started to look for the J pod whales...nope...not over there, or over there...
...by the end of the time with the whales we knew that we had not seen any J pod whales and at that time we didn't know of anyone else who had either...later I learned that both Traci and Monika had gotten a picture of Granny J-2!  what?...wild!...she and Onyx L-87...no other J pod whales were seen at all by anyone! - I think!
...click here for the Encounter page on the Center for Whale Research site for the write up by Dave and some of our pictures from the encounter...this encounter may not be posted just yet, but you can check CWR's encounter page... (11/18) Tuesday, 3 a.m. J pod calls loud and clear on Orca Sound hydrophones....
they were there for a while and then stopped...
...after re-listening to the recording I heard faint J pod calls behind some loud ship noise...
...then at 4:10 a.m. they started up again on the Orca Sound hydrophones again...
...and they had an accompaniment - a humpback whale!!!


video
...two hours later there was a strange sound...a barking California sea lion! - barking under the surface...
video

both were over the Orca Sound hydrophones...that was at about 6 a.m.
...it's pretty wild out there...

...I spotted the humpback whale from shore at about 8 a.m.
...at about 10 a.m. five California sea lions swam by in front of my place...
...but no killer whales did I see today!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

11-15-14 Which Way Did They Go?

Friday/Saturday, November 14/15th
...two audio days of Southern Residents and one afternoon with humpbacks...

Friday, November 14th
...4:01 a.m. over the Lime Kiln hydrophones I heard J pod calls...the calls were brief...they sounded as if they were coming in...but later I learn there are whales in the Strait of Juan de Fuca heading west...
...that was just the whales keeping everyone guessing...
...by the afternoon they were spotted going into Puget Sound...

Saturday, November 15th
...they are coming out of Puget Sound...but it took them a good portion of the day to do so...out on Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon, we knew that the Residents were out of our range - like maybe 50 miles away...lucky for us Spencer of Legacy Charters was out with two humpback whales...

...one of the humpbacks is MMY0028...
...the other...I believe is MMX0006...
...I noticed that MMX0006 has lots of barnacles and MMY0028 doesn't...
...we had two other whales, with the same barnacle 'set up'..one with and one without...I just find it interesting about the barnacle thing...don't know why some are loaded with them and others not...

...while going through my images I heard the Residents over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...it started a little bit after 6:00 pm...usually when they are passing through that one area they are not on the hydrophones for 1 1/2 hours like the were this evening...pretty nice to hear them so vocal...oh, my and then I heard them again, quite loud, at about 11:00 pm over Lime Kiln HPs again...

...in the last few days we've been seeing leaping salmon, again, just like we did before the L12s showed up on the 10th...
...it's not rocket science...they just need the food!

Monday, November 10, 2014

11-10-14 We Got Whales!

Monday, November 10th
...once November started, I kept thinking about several years ago - November 11, 2009 - when J pod whales showed up coming down island, passing Lime Kiln lighthouse...
...and that it could happen again...

...I was planning to go out on Maya's Westside Charters today for a noon time trip...but my hopeful memories told me to go scanning before the trip...
...maybe I'd spot a humpback whale, so when my eyes locked on the tall dorsal fin of a killer whale I about freaked!...I was so shocked I started to shake - LOL!!...and laughing at myself for trembling...and then I remembered November 11th, 7 years ago...okay, so one day off...
...back 7 years ago there had been a report several days before of whales seen to the north and they were 'swimming in circles'...all I could think of was 'baby', so when Polaris actually showed up with J-46 - yeah it was epic then too!

...okay, back to the present...November 10th, 2014...

...at first I thought that maybe they were Transients, mainly because I only saw about three whales...but then they spread out and that made me wonder, because the distance was greater than the way transients usually spread out...
...if I had been listening to the Lime Kiln hydrophones I would have known they were L pod whales!
video

...when I left them to head for the boat, they were heading down and were miles from shore...but when we got out there we were stretched to find them..uh,oh...
...earlier, from shore I had seen a sail boat near the whales, so we located a sail boat and the fellow let us know they had changed direction and were heading back toward San Juan Island...we headed that way...all of a sudden one of the passengers called out that something was just ahead of us...we got a brief glimpse and then nothing...
...we all wanted to see the whales and especially Noah, who had just studied killer whales in school - we just had to find them...

...Mark on Prince of Whales out of Victoria joined the search...he spotted blows up island...after seeing how far the whales were spread, the long dive times, and few surfacings in between...well, that filled in a lot of questions...
...Mystery's fin - what a hook it has!...but it doesn't always show like that...
...Lime Kiln lighthouse is in the distance on the left...the whales were at least three miles from shore when we finally saw them...
...still a puzzle to me as to which way they had come from...they might have come in, gone up so far and then back down...but what was most unusual to me was that when I saw them they were coming down from the north, at a steady pace and were miles from shore...KWDs (killer whale dots) at that time...
...they stalled out between Baynes Channel and Discovery Island and then came back towards San Juan Island, up past Lime Kiln - offshore - and then back down and headed out late in the day...

...the two moms and their little ones were spread way out...Mystery had disappeared for a while and showed up way north...
 
...then they began to come together...

...then Capt. Jim spotted some blows about two miles away...I grabbed a couple shots...it was Mega L-41 and probably Ocean Sun L-25...
 



...Dave from the Center for Whale Research zoomed over to verify who it was...


...Solstice L-90 and his mom Spirit L-22 were off from the others foraging...sort of like Mega and Ocean Sun - distance wise...


...just before Capt. Jim was about to depart I got to 'hop' (more like fall into) the Center for Whale Research boat and continue on with Dave Ellifrit from the Center...this is the last image I took from Capt. Jim's boat...
...while on the CWR boat we watched as the whales eventually all came together, Mega surprised us with a huge breach - and only once -and they continued their direction to the south and west...
...link here to the Center for Whale Research Encounter report, with images too, from today...

It was an epic November day!

NOTE:  a few days ago while out on the water a couple passengers commented a few times that they saw jumping fish - and they were big!...yesterday afternoon I saw that same thing three times...salmon leaping...and then today Residents showed up...interesting...

Friday, November 7, 2014

11-7-14 The Hydrophones A Busy Place


Friday, November 7th
...the Lime Kiln hydrophones have been a busy place lately...in the early hours today I heard transient calls...
...the calls occurred at three different times over about 1 and a half hours...
...here's a short clip...
video

...out on Maya's Westside Charters, we spotted a humpback whale...it was BCY0409, who has been nicknamed Yogi!...
...Yogi was heading down Haro Strait and toward Discovery Island lighthouse...eventually rounding the corner and heading a bit south and then west when we departed the scene...

...as far as I know those Ts I heard in the early morning hours were not seen and they can go where ever they want!
...maybe someone coming down Rosario Strait on Saturday, during the Round the County sailboat race will spot them!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

11-6-14 More and Different Humpback Sounds in the Night

11-06-14
00:23 a.m.
Now these are totally different humpback sounds from what I have heard before.


video

Those are two clips extracted from a total of close to 20 minutes.