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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4-14-10 Transients and Steller Tango!


Wednesday, April 14th

What an unexpected encounter...word came that about 15 transients were not too far away...in fact they were over near Constance Bank, off Victoria and headed toward Trial Island...meaning our direction...would they continue?...

...I went out with Capt.Jim of Maya's Westside Charters in the early afternoon ...we located the transients with other boats already on scene...the whales were traveling...
...but they split off into two groups...one of the big males, T30A went north with a group...and the other large male T87 headed toward San Juan Island, looking like they would be going southeast...
...Dave from the Center for Whale Research was on board and he immediately saw that T30 was in the other group from T30A...meaning that at some point they would be getting back together...this made it more intriguing...
...these 12 Ts (T87, 88, 90, 90B, 30, 30A, 30B, 30C, T124, T124D, T124E, T172)...first one direction and then another...several surfacings and then a longer dive...then all of a sudden off in the distance some surfaced with huge lunges...


...it was soon clear that a Steller sea lion was the target...
...it was fascinating to watch as the whales would move off as a group, from the Steller...then turn and slowly begin to move back in...I had to watch the water surface near the Steller to get ready for what might happen next...
...
...the whales repeated this behavior several times...when they moved off, the Steller sea lion could be seen holding up his flipper, almost as if he was saying, "I'm over here."...
...when in fact it was explained to us that he was keeping his eye on the where the whales were...
...the whales didn't kill the sea lion...instead, after close to 1 1/2 hours they turned and left...a practice session perhaps...