Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9-16-14 Would We Ever Get to the Residents Today?

Tuesday, September 16th
...Granny J-2 and Group A Minus were to the north...
...the J16s had been down island last I knew...
...and more whales had come in during the night...
...I barely got a glimpse of them from about a mile south of Lime Kiln Pt. State Park...and back down island they went...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters to see the....wait...what?...Ts? right here? - cool!
...it was the T60's again!  just a few miles outside of Snug Harbor...and they were once again in eating mode...



...and when someone is surfacing backwards they usually are 'carrying' something - really...it makes them more buoyant!

...when she spyhopped she was really giving someone the eye!

...T002B has two tiny nicks...she was the 6th whale present and has been traveling with the T60s for the last few days...maybe all the time...
...when they began to move on so did we...the T18s were coming up island...geesh!...we were never going to see the Residents today!
...they were going the opposite direction as the Residents so we stayed with these whales...the seas to the south were getting rough...
...I know some special people in my life who live in a dome house in Alaska...I think of them every time I see this one...
...the T18s can be very sly when getting a meal...this afternoon they kept splitting into two pairs and then coming back together, which kept us on our toes!
...a quick look at Spieden Island on the way back...it's September and the animals are starting to show themselves more...
...always great to see these animals...
...by the end of the day the Residents who were down island had moved off shore and it sounded like they would soon be gone again...seems like there wasn't a lot of salmon that came in this last time...and that's not good...
...Group A Minus stayed to the north - like near the mouth of the Fraser River...does that tell us something or what?...it doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a scientist for that matter to figure it out!
...well tomorrow is another day and perhaps there will be more salmon showing up - fat chance...well...someone got this...wonderful, but I would have rather seen it in the mouth of a killer whale than hanging on a hook!





Monday, September 15, 2014

9-15-14 The T60's Again

Monday, September 15th
...no sign of Granny and Group A, but the T60s were seen again...so off we went on Maya's Westside Charters to see what they were up to...especially after yesterday!
...nice group...and there was one other with them...T002B...
...I don't know if she is always with them or just some of the time...I've only seen them a few times...and this time I noticed that T60 had some tagging lumps on her...at least there wasn't any metal sticking out...
...I noticed T60F with a newish scratch...now these types of marks are naturally occurring from the way they live...the tagging marks are something that was done to them by humans...
...I noticed all these things because the whales became very active...it looked like a couple of the kids were getting in some hunting practice...and then later the adults came in and completed the meal preparation...






...while we were with the T60s group we got word that Group A had been seen out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...so the mystery of who had been on the hydrophones at 11pm last night, remains just that a mystery...


...Granny J-2 and the other 12 whales of Group A were coming back in...but they took a very long time...
...when I got to the park and to the lighthouse and was sure the whales were coming up island, I heard some young ladies talking...and with what I heard I figured I better let them know that they were about to see whales...and when they did...well, need I say more!...always special when I get to hear/see people who are seeing killer whales in the wild for the first time...and especially the Southern Residents because many people have been adopters of these whales...sometimes they even get to see 'their' whale...
...but the J16s didn't come up...they stayed down island...

...a few other times this year the J16s have split off from Group A...remember when they were down by the Deception Pass bridge (post 8-13) when Granny was up at the Fraser...well no telling where the J16s will be tomorrow...





Sunday, September 14, 2014

9-14-14 The T60s Saved the Day!

Sunday, September 14th
...no word on whales this morning...Ts too far away...no Residents...ah, but a couple humpback whales within distance...like I have said so many times in the past 'you just never know what we will see after we leave the dock'...the folks on Maya's Westside Charters were so excited and said they had been waiting for this for months and months...oh, boy I sure hoped some KWs would show up...and boy were we lucky!...the T60s were coming our way...whew!...
...they were mainly in a travel mode and keeping us on our toes looking for where they would surface next...

...in the afternoon we went to see the T60s again...
...their travel mode didn't last long before they got hungry...

...there were several surfacings when they were chasing it...
..I didn't see the porpoise after this...
...after they finished their meal they continued on slowly...

...in September 2012 I first met the T60s...back then T60E did not have a notch...now he/she does...
...there are two others in this community who currently have this kind of notch, but they are much younger/smaller whales...T86A3 and T137D...
 
...then, at one point one of the younger ones surfaced up ahead at the same time that I saw another one surface on the other side of a pleasure boat back behind us...and then two surfaced in between those two whales...but then three surfaced by that pleasure craft..."wait a minute!...there are more than 5 whales here!"
...it wasn't until I got home and looked at my images...yes! there was a 6th whale - T002B, who looks very similar to T60...and in The Book it says she was traveling with the T60s when I saw them back in 2012.


...then back at home, at about 7:15 I heard a few calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...they were coming up Haro Strait...

...then at 11:00 pm (the seas were calm) I heard lots of water disturbance then a few seconds of heavy sounding (for lack of a better way to say it) echolocation clicks and one call on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...was that Ts or was that Residents?...Ts don't usually echolocate and Residents usually do much longer and are more chatty than just one or two calls...
video

...I knew that Granny's Group - Group A - was coming down but I didn't think they could make it from East Pt. to Lime Kiln in three hours...

...oh well, tomorrow should be interesting...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

9-13-14 One Mixed Up Whale of a Day!

Saturday, September 13th
...when I stay up too late...I wake up too late and missed Granny J-2 and Group A, anyone else??, who went north past the lighthouse...
...I did get to the park in time to see Slick J-16, Mike J-26, and Alki J-36 moving up island...two Pacific white sided dolphins took off after Mike or Slick...the Pacific white sides were last seen heading across Haro Strait to Canada!
...Mike continued his foraging...
...just about to get on Maya's Westside Charters when I spot the moon behind the trees...I couldn't resist...
...down island we went to see the whales who had not gone north this morning...on the way a Dall's porpoise zoomed by the boat...the whales were spread for several miles...Tika was doing a lot of foraging...he burst through the surface chasing a salmon...the salmon was in the air in front of him...I hope one of the passengers got that image...I sure missed it...my phone rang!
...he's just 13 years old and is growing fast...
...it's terrible to say that him growing fast 'worries' me, but Riptide J-30 grew fast and large...he died before he reached 17 yrs....then this year Indigo L-100...just starting his journey into adulthood at age 13 and he is gone...
...I have no idea if the appearance of growing fast has anything to do with the early deaths of some males, but it causes me to pause and wonder...
..are they having to work so much harder to feed themselves?...probably so...they require more food, just like growing boys in the human realm...
...on the way back to the harbor we catch up to the humpback whale that had been spotted earlier...
...one way to remember this humpback - the letter 'H' is on the left fluke...
...earlier we saw the K12s and the K13s...and later on we saw some of the others who had come back in yesterday...and of course the baby...
...I love seeing the progression of the family arrangement with a new baby...
at first - mom, auntie, baby in the middle and big brother off to the side and behind them...then another pod mate, an adult female, who has not yet been seen with any offspring, was traveling with mom, baby and auntie...

...ta-da!
...hoping this is good progression for this baby and family...
...the rest of this subgroup called the L4s was present today as well...auntie Ophelia L-27, Nugget L-55 and all of her family, and Nigel L-95...
...does he have a specific role to play in all this?...if so, then maybe that is why his sister Racer L-72 and her son Fluke L-105 aren't present..
...the rest of the whales who had come in last night were here, though I am curious as to where the K14s are...maybe tomorrow will shed some light on that...

Friday, September 12, 2014

9-12-14 It Was One of Those Magestic Encounters

Friday, September 12th
...on our way to see some transient killer whales...almost to Active Pass we saw something...screech to a stop and wait...and wait...and when it surfaced after the blow came the pectoral fin waving...
...there were two... Split Fluke and another...I've seen both before but don't have an ID number on 'Black Dot Left' that's what I'll call that one until I figure out the ID...
...out again on Maya's Westside Charters in the late afternoon we headed west...word had come that the Residents were seen heading back in...
...on our way...
...other than that one drop I saw a helicopter doing a water drop...

...not far past there the whales were coming in just south of Race Rocks...so we made a quick trip past the rocks...
...they were in two groups...with Surprise and calf up at the lead of the L pod whales...
...now if only Lobo K-26 was 'up' on this surfacing...

...it's like they are coming 'home'...

...cruise ships are usually so far away that I can't tell if anyone is watching what's going on around them in the sea...these folks were!
...
 ...with Yoda K-36 and Lobo K-26 dorsal fins showing...I wonder what male owns that inverted lobbing tail...
...way up ahead of us they were starting to make their turn toward San Juan Island...
...this tail lob made a great waterfall...
...I didn't think the whales would make it to the west side before dark and was pretty sure they'll be there tomorrow - I hope...
 ...enjoy a short clip...
video
 
...I stayed up really late making sure who was present...not all of the Community...it's an interesting combination...
All of J pod and Onyx L-87, All of K pod - that includes the K Klik (Cappuccino, Opus, and Sonata), and the family group the L4s - new baby in that family, the L21s, and Nigel L-95...

Who are Racer L-72 and Fluke L-105 and Crewser L-92 and Ballena L-90 with?...or are they now creating their own 'independent' group?...

...this inquiring mind has lots of questions!...