Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Friday, May 22, 2015

5-22-15 The Shot of the Day - A Gull?

Friday, May 22nd
...My shot of the day! Starting at the end of the day, sitting on the rocks at Lime Kiln a gull was flying by, normal, but then it seemed to make a few circles  - three fish!...gulls are usually gobbling up every little fish they can right on the spot, so to see one carrying fish around like this...maybe it was taking food to its chicks...I wonder where that nest might be...
...as usual during 'whale season' everyone was wondering where the whales would be this morning...two groups yesterday...had they really split?...possibly...not uncommon for the J16s to be off on their own this spring...
...then someone spotted 'J pod' up near East Pt....however, when we arrived on scene, and after talking with others, it was only the J16s who were present...
...Echo J-42 seems to have grown a lot in the last few months, or maybe it's just the angle of her when seen in this image...

...Slick J-16 and 'CatchUp' (my nickname for J-50) were actually together...they were spread out...it seemed they were foraging but no one 'showed' us a salmon so I couldn't be sure :)...
...I love the contrast of big fin/little fin...
...in the middle of it all someone spotted a humpback so we raced over to see Big Mama...we came back over to see the J16s before leaving...Echo began this...
...I wonder if she knew something we didn't...the rest of J pod was coming from 'out of the blue'...always so neat when least expected!
..I enlarged those splashes to reveal whales!
...Capt. Jim had mentioned about how sometimes there is a photo op of Patos lighthouse and a whale...well, what do you know!  Thank you Blackberry J-27!
...Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, Blackberry J-27, and Mako J-39 were together...
...here's the Center for Whale Research documenting those present...
...the presence of J-27 and J-39 - Group B whales, and J-2 and L-87 - Group A whales, indicated that it was most likely all of J pod was soon to be present...they were heading down...would they make it to the park????
...first it was County Park...(between the sign and the ship - look close)

... and then Lime Kiln...
...doesn't get much better than this...
...oh, except for that gull!  AMAZING!
...and while writing this post I was listening to J pod over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5-21-15 J Pod is Still Here

Thursday, May 21st
...after hearing J pod calls in the middle of the night...3:40 a.m. being the last of the calls I heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...well, they didn't go out...I thought they were still down island and off the west side, but instead they had gone north...

...even though I didn't see J pod whales today...I just received an email from Save Our Wild Salmon...with a link to a short video highlighting a trip to Washington, D.C. in January to speak to high level officials about the importance of the removal of the lower four Snake River Dams.

What a powerful video.  Watch it.  This is hope for the future.
DamNation Petition Delivery to the White House


...for those of you who haven't yet, please sign the petition for the 
Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative
...it too is about the removal of the lower four Snake River Dams...

...as I was about to post this, I get a call that J Pod is coming down President Channel...so I take off to Ruben Tarte Park...when I left home the water on the west side was calm and no wind...however, on the east side I felt like I was in a wind storm in Alaska!...LOL!  I didn't stay long and as it worked out I saw David Howitt who was just coming out of Snug Harbor and he gave me the info on where the whales were when he left them...
...however, it still doesn't give me much of a clue as to where they will be by tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/19-20/15 The Whales Keep Us Guessing

Tuesday/Wednesday, May 19/20th
Tuesday, May 19th
...out on a late afternoon trip on Peregrine, we headed north to meet up with J pod as they were coming down Boundary Pass...
...what they did over the last 24 hours is more like what they used to do...which would indicate they are finding salmon...
...when we arrived on scene we could see a large group of whales going nowhere and slowly, just hanging out...goofing around...Oreo has been spyhopping alot these last few days...

...some were way up ahead and others in loose groups...here's Granny J-2 and Suttles J-40...

...it's Oreo J-22 again!

...little J-49 got in on the action too...

...and then he changed it up a bit...

...he looks so very happy!
...and this shot turned out pretty neat...the whales are quite far away too...
...off in the distance J-49 breaches...
...uncle Se-Yi-Chn J-45 spyhops...
...and Oreo spyhopping again!
...Echo J-42 with her chin up and someone else taking a dive...
...one of the adult males breached...
...at times they were in small groups...


...when we left them they had only gone about a mile from where we first began...and we wondered whether they would continue to come down into Haro Strait or turn back another way...
...as I was writing up this post today, for yesterday, I got a message...and I got to Land Bank quickly...so here's what occurred on Wednesday...

Wednesday, May 20th
..."okay, it's morning...where are the whales?"
...and there were no replies...no one knew...
...out with Capt. Jim in the afternoon to go north into Georgia Strait where there were some humpback whales...
...we were watching Big Mama and I decided to go to the back of the boat to scan for orcas...we were in a good place if the whales had gone north last night...
...while I was scanning I heard a big thud/splash - Big Mama just breached!...oh, well...

...no J Pod all day long...at 8:52 pm I get a note saying there is one whale on the west side south of Lime Kiln...off I go to see, that is if it wasn't already too dark...
...at Land Bank I saw someone I knew and it was mentioned that their friend had seen about 20 whales near the top of Orcas Island heading down to Rosario Strait at about 11 a.m....
...then another person I know, was so excited because she saw the whales from the top of Mt. Finlayson at the bottom of San Juan Island at about 7pm...
...I was standing there with them and we all were seeing members of J pod a bit after 9pm!

...they have been vocalizing on the Lime Kiln and the Orca Sound hydrophones for over a couple hours now...

...of course tomorrow we may be back in the same situation as today...trying to locate where the whales are!

Monday, May 18, 2015

5-18-15 They Made it Past the Lighthouse

Monday, May 18th
...they stayed!...just like the day before, Shachi J-19 was in the lead with Eclipse J-41 and her baby, J-51, and they soon changed direction and headed back down...only today they came back up island and they actually made it to Lime Kiln Pt. State Park...
...a few had already gone by when I got there...but I was in time to watch Shachi J-19, in what appeared to be 'strategy mode,' waiting for a salmon to come to her...I haven't a clue but it sure looked that way...she was then down for a few minutes and surprised everyone with what I call her signature cartwheel!...I was ready with the camera but only for the splash as she landed!

...she moved on and about five minutes later others could be seen approaching...
...more passed by...and then a group closer to shore came along...this was fun...these stopped and changed direction and something was going on...
...that's Oreo J-22 in the middle...Blackberry J-27 in the distance...and a couple kids in the foreground...
...a few minutes later...Oreo...

...and several minutes later Blackberry was about a mile off shore with another whale...
...as the whales passed in front of the lighthouse they were vocalizing and some of the sounds were very unusual...
video
...there were some kayakers who were 'behaving'...and I imagine just itching to get closer, but they didn't...I just wonder if the whales were 'talking' about the two small unusual looking kayaks...

...I can only imagine what they were saying...to my human eyes it looked like it had a cloth top and was an inflatable?...one puncture and we'd have our own 'deflate gate' here!...
...but of course, the whales pay them no mind...except for giving the humans a thrill just to be almost in the water with them...but they're not!

..they continued north...would they keep on going north?...how far?...I hope they go to the Fraser...maybe there is enough salmon in here for them, at least  for now...that would be just great!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5-17-15 One Whale, One Boat, One Tree

Sunday, May 17th
...along the shore scanning for whales who may have come in this morning...no word on how many or who, but there were whales out there somewhere...I kept changing my location with the attempt at picking them up from a different angle...and it worked!

...I saw several coming across, spread out and looking like the Residents...I kept watching and soon I saw someone coming up island...and not far was a female and a calf...I could soon tell it was Eclpse J-41 and her baby, J-51...mom/grandma Shachi J-19 was ahead of them...
...Shachi kept on going up island...
...my Favorite Picture of the whole YEAR!
One boat, one whale, one tree and they're all in focus!
...that's the Center for Whale Research documenting who is present...
...it wasn't long before I could no longer hear Shachi as she went up island...
...and Eclipse and baby J-51 stalled out...soon another whale was approaching...she was quite far so it was difficult to tell who it was...that is until she tail slapped...I could see the notch in her left fluke - it was Granny J-2!

...Granny slapped her tail with force several times- not the lazy kind of way but the way she does when she is sending a message...I'm not sure if it was a message to a boat that was approaching or if it was to tell Shachi to come back down island, because about 10 minutes later I could hear Shachi as she exhaled, coming back down island...

...checking the Lime Kiln hydrophone recordings, from while I was out scanning, there were J pod calls intermittent for quite a while...but once they 'hit' the west side of the island they were out of range of this set of hydrophones...
...out on the Peregrine for an afternoon trip...by then there were reports of whales in about five different locations all around the islands...if only I had a jet pack (can't you just see that!)...the first group we saw and stayed with were the J16s...they have two of the new babies and both babies were present!-whew!-...the J16s were spread out and taking long dives...from what we heard all of J pod was spread for miles...
...Slick J-16 and J-50...


...Echo J-42 was spending time with Mike, her brother...more than she had last time we saw J pod, which was May 1st...I wonder if now that the babies have grown a bit, that she isn't needed as much to help her mother and her sister with their new offspring...
...Alki J-36 and baby J-52 were present but too far for any good pics of them...


...some proof of location images...
...Smith Island in the distance...
...Minor Island in the distance and behind it is Whidbey Island...

...as we were leaving we saw Soundwatch...I love this shot of them...ready for the season of boater education to begin! Go SW!!
...we left Soundwatch and the whales and headed for Whale Rocks to see if there were still some Steller sea lions (see previous post for an interesting video clip of the Steller sea lions yesterday at another location)...David was there on his sailboat and I had a great time taking pictures of that boat and the choppy seas we were in...

...by the end of the day there were still reports of killer whales in several locations - both transients and Residents, a Minke whale was seen, and a humpback or two...I'm still looking for that white porpoise from the other day too...
...yesterday there was one humpback in the area, that was all...it was Big Mama...and even though she didn't fluke very often, you could tell it was her by the big lump on the top of her right fluke...

...and then today, with all that activity you'd think there would be whales somewhere nearby tomorrow...here's hoping...
...I wonder more about J pod still being here tomorrow...I guess their presence and location or lack there of will tell us about the abundance or lack there of of salmon...
...I think the whales are our best barometer of what is going on under the surface...

...what have you done today or will do tomorrow to make a difference for the salmon and the ecosystem...no matter where you live your actions do make a difference...make sure they are making the 'right difference'...a couple passengers today said they no longer eat salmon - save it for the whales.