Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10-21-14 Barnacles Gave A Clue As To Who

Tuesday, October 21st
...thinking the killer whales had continued up island (which seemed a bit unusual) I figured we would go north today and look for them...and maybe find some of the humpback whales that had been in the vicinity a couple days ago...
...but I learned that the L pod whales had turned and gone back down last evening...what?!
...I spotted the blow of a humpback whale in the distance...on Maya's Westside Charters we headed in that direction...as we approached Capt. Jim saw a second whale!
...they were at the surface moving slowly, looked like they might be in a resting mode...then they fluked (sounded)...
...figuring they would be down for several minutes, I thought I would scan around...and as I put my camera down I said to myself, "watch they'll probably do something because I'm looking away."  One second later (no joke) one and then the other breached...I guess they woke up...
...at least I got the second one breaching...
...they got into a frisky mode...

video

...as I looked through my images, I noticed the barnacles...
...one whale had lots and the other hardly any...
...looks more like a crocodile than a whale with all those barnacles on the whale's bumps, called tubercles (hair follicles)..it makes them stand out even more...
...look at the outer edges of the tail flukes on these two...
...either lots or none...
...same with their pec fins...
...it's Split Fluke BCX1068 who has the barnacles in all those places...
...I wonder why that is...one much older than the other?...where they spend most of their time?...maybe there is no reason at all and that's just the way it is.
...in looking for more information I found several articles about this...here are a couple links: article on the Pacific Whale Foundation site...
...and on the scienceonline site: How Do Barnacles Attach to Whales?
 
...these two whales are known in this area and are often seen together but not always...this is the time of year the humpbacks are moving down, stopping off in these waters while on their way to their winter grounds...
...one last look before we leave...Salt Spring Island in the distance...


...the whales and the barnacles continued on their way...except at this moment they were going in the wrong direction!
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

10-20-14 An Unexpected October Day

Monday, October 20th
...no morning-warning sky this morning...too much fog to even see it...
...but by the time we left the dock on Maya's Westside Charters the fog had receded...one of the young passengers was keeping out a 'fog watch'...and luckily she was able to 'report' that it had gone away!
...in its place were whales, orcas, killer whales...and what a surprise it was...
...at first I only saw L pod whales...
...whales had been spotted earlier in the day near Discovery Island coming in...
..well, not all Ls...those who have been briefly seen this year, once again did not make an appearance...the L12s, the L54s and Nyssa L-84 and Wave Walker L-88 who travel with the L54s... 
...they came over to the west side, up island...then down...and now up again...
,,,love this!


...the whales continued up island slowly...a large group in shore...
...Surprise! L-86, Pooka L-106, and Ophelia L-27 were off shore and behind the larger group...
...there were a few others farther behind them - Cappuccino K-21 was one of them...
...Fluke L-105 and Sonata K-35 were playing around a lot...look at Fluke's scratches..
...now check out the other side! yikes...he has had some of these for a long time...and in fact the newer ones he had on the 18th...

...Sonata K-35...his mom was present and Cappuccino - so the K Klik is here!
...we heard of a humpback whale across the way and with this glassy water...well, we were on our way...

...and then back to the harbor...I could see the whales were still coming up island...
...I thought I would hop off the boat and run to County Park...but Capt. hadn't told me we were going back out again with some other passengers...gee, we were all about to be very lucky people...again...
...just out of the harbor we can see the whales coming up...now wait...

...then it looked like Dall's porpoise!  - NO! I was Pacific white sided dolphins - LAGS!
...check out the satin water...it was like that all afternoon...

video

...it was getting late...the clouds were heavy, but "look there's a rainbow!" someone said...

...and the whales were approaching...would the rainbow last when the whales got there???...you could have felt the suspense on the boat!
Thank you Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110 (how appropriate) for being right where you were!
...a few more minutes...a sailing ship in the distance catching some of the last of the sun...

...one last one...

...later I looked back to see if this was normal for just these L pod whales (a group of four families) to be here...from what I can tell it's not an 'ah-ha' moment!...that is unless you want to count the K Klik as one!
...in the October months in the last several years, this group of Ls has been around the San Juan Islands a time or two each October...that is not counting when they have gone into Puget Sound or when Js and Ks have been present with them...
...and K Klik?...well, they are an independent group and have been seen in here in October as well...I remember in 2008 all of K pod was here, but Cappuccino K-21 was not with them...he was off with Ls!
...sorry this post is so long...
...it was such a fun day...
...hope you feel like you were 
out there with the whales today...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

10-19-14 The Morning Warning Sky

Sunday, October 19, 2014
...the sky was 'full of warning' this morning...
...this boat seemed to be full of warning too...luckily it was just blowing a lot of smoke...it stopped within seconds...
...it was a busy Haro Strait...
...it looked almost like smoke again...
...some humpbacks were close and others way in the distance...we saw several...
...and since we were near Race Rocks...we just had to make a visit...


...way off in the distance is Race Rocks lighthouse...

...on the way back, in Haro Strait, another humpback...


...no killer whales today...but I heard there were five humpbacks to the north a few miles. 
...today I got my new 2014 Center for Whale Research Humpback ID Guide...and some of those unknowns, that I have images of but not a clue who they are, now have numbers to attach to them...and I like to know just who it is I'm seeing!

...and luckily that 'warning sky' this morning evolved into another gorgeous day.
...if you're not familiar with it - here's how I know it:
Red sky in morning, sailor take warning.
Red sky at night, sailor delight.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

10-18-14 The Calm After the Storm

Saturday, October 18th
...it began - 04:47 a.m....calls on the Port Townsend hydrophones...I was so surprised they woke me up because their calls were very faint...but there were a lot of them...J pod calls mainly, a few K pod calls and a few L pod calls...I wondered who was present and where they would be when it got light out...
...here's a short clip...
video

...daylight came, hours passed, no whales heard or seen...but then just before leaving the dock on Maya's Westside Charters we get word - "contact"!...oh, goodie...
...J, K, and L pod whales and a lot of them!
...they were in a few groups, spread out...
...after yesterday and the very strong winds and high seas, it was a most magnificent calm, sunny day...
...it's like seeing friends I haven't seen in a while...for some it had only been a few days...others it had been several weeks...
...though J-34 and J-46 were at the surface at the same time...there were 20 plus others under the surface!

...Granny J-2 was one of them...all of J pod and the K12s and the K14s too...
...here DoubleStuf J-34, Mike J-26, and Blackberry J-27, plus a few others were surfacing together...
...lots and lots...
 ...just a fun pic with Oreo J-22 and friend and the bird...
...besides the rest of K pod, lots of L pod whales were present but not the L12s or the L54s (added: I forgot to include L-84 and L-88 as not seen - they have been traveling with the L54s) and not the new baby L-120...
...now a look back to six years ago...I re-posted the last half of October 2008...read what occurred back then...

Friday, October 17, 2014

10/14-17/14 They Sure Do Get Around!

Tuesday, October 14th
...what would today bring in the way of whales?...
...well, it began at about 4:15 this morning, when extremely faint calls came over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...they were so faint I couldn't determine if Transients or Residents...there were only about a dozen calls heard over about 17 minutes...
...someone is out there...somewhere...
...by the afternoon out on Maya's Westside Charters we were in the Strait of Juan de Fuca watching humpbacks...at this time of year they seem to be moving down from the north and some making a stop in these inland waters...

...at one point we saw humpbacks spotted in four different locations on the horizon...I heard that over 10 individuals had been seen...we were heading toward some other humpbacks when, on our way the Capt. made a turn to the south..ah-ha!...something was up...
...killer whales had been spotted by Ocean Magic!
...and once on scene, I knew who I had heard in the night...the same whales who had been in Massacre Bay and by Skull Island yesterday (see prior post)...
...at first there was no big male...then one of the passengers spotted him about a mile to the south...that was T137A...in between the group we were watching and him was one other single...mom - T137...

...they were spread a good distance, but we could see they were coming back together...heading west...
...don't know why, but T137D was way behind the rest of the group...he had to do some porpoising to catch up to the others...
...just as we were leaving the scene we heard that other Transients were a couple miles away and were coming in...the T35As and T38A (see post from two days ago)...
...we made a quick pass at Race Rocks...always an amazing place...
...On to Wednesday, 10-15 - I learn from Ivan of the Western Prince that the T35As, T38A, and the T36As were all together, but the T137s were not seen...
...Then on Friday, 10-17 - I learn from Ivan that those same whales showed up outside of Friday Harbor...
They Sure Do Get Around! 

And the Residents?...well they just happened to make their first fall appearance into Puget Sound on Thursday!...