Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Monday, June 20, 2011

6-20-11 Twelve Spyhops and One More For Good Measure

Sunday/Monday, June 19/20th
Sunday
...in the afternoon the whales came up the west side of the island...it was a shore day for me...the seas were quite wild, so even seeing a whale could be a challenge...I got a glimpse of the leader - Skagit K-13...traveling farther offshore and parallel to her was Blackberry J-27...there were others in the mix but I only got fin tips of them...
...Shachi J-19, in a bit closer with a lunge - that helped!
...the whales were spread for miles...the last two groups were the J16s and the J14s...Riptide J-30 with his mom and one of his sisters...(little did we know that Riptide would go missing over the winter)...
Monday
...when last seen last evening, the whales were going up island, but this morning the K13s showed up coming up island!...so we know what they did sometime in the night...this is Deadhead K-27 - we didn't know it, but she was pregnant and soon to have a baby!
...it wasn't long before they came back down island again...
...and then up island again, only this time Group B of J pod and they were in a resting line...

I didn't delay this time and headed up island to see if I could see them from another location...whale watching through the trees...

...out on Maya's Westside Charters a short while later, we didn't go very far to find the whales - like a 1/2 mile out of Snug Harbor...the whales had been in a resting pattern for quite a while and it wasn't too long before they 'woke up'...a spyhop here another over there...
...other surface actions...some 'hugging' moments or so they look like that...

...the K13s, who had stayed south, changed direction and came up island too...
...as we were coming back in to the harbor, we learned that echolocation clicks were being heard from the Lime Kiln hydrophones - ah, Group A was around somewhere!
...I couldn't make it to the park, but located the whales farther north...a kayaker was paddling out from shore and setting himself up to watch the whales go by...what happened next was the funniest thing!



...sometimes I wonder
 if the whales are having
 more fun than the humans!

 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

5-21-11 Rounding Corners of the Island

Friday and Saturday, May 20th/21st
Friday
...it was the second time this week the whales came down from the Coal Docks and went all the way south in the 'big water' not far from Admiralty Inlet...but they didn't go into Puget Sound...instead they stayed to the west of the entrance and eventually moved back up island...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon to meet the whales as they were heading back up toward San Juan Island...



...they were still pretty far down in that 'big water' when we left to head for the dock.

...after returning to the dock I went scanning from shore, wanting to see which way they might be going... I could see Granny and a few others heading up island miles from shore...lucky for me someone spyhopped...

...I learned there was a large group farther to the south who appeared to be in a resting pattern...
...all was quiet on the hydrophones that night, so no telling where they would show up next...

Saturday
...phone rings at about 9:15 - "got whales in Spieden Channel!"...it was J pod...they rounded the corner and came down island past Lime Kiln and rounded the corner again going into Cattle Pass and continued on up San Juan Channel!
...one of the most amazing things to me is that they rounded the corner into Spieden Channel for the second time that day (I learned they were seen coming through Pole Pass early in the morning)...
...on the Spieden Channel pass in the morning they were farther offshore than they were in the afternoon...
...passing Lonesome Cove Resort in Spieden Channel...
...passing the entrance to Roche Harbor...
 ...and being closer to shore, when they passed by the northern end of Mosquito Pass the church in Roche Harbor was visible...

...they rounded the corner once again, heading down the west side of Henry Island, past Lime Kiln lighthouse and toward Discovery Island...


...we didn't hear from J pod again for 17 days.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3-6-11 Onyx Has Take Up Residency with J Pod!

Sunday, March 6th
...I'm at the computer, hydrophones on (of course) it's late morning..."I just heard something. There it is again."...off and running - I knew there were whales out there, but where?
...I went to all my 'watch' places and couldn't locate any...and then finally I spotted someone way on the other side of the Strait...I could see they were heading up island, spread out and I knew by now that it was J pod...
...finally I got a picture - Granny J-2 !...here's a bit of perspective - she was about a mile from shore...
I saw another whale a few hundred yards behind her - thought it might be Spieden J-8 and a male not too far behind her...that might be Onyx L-87, but too far to be sure...
...out with Capt. Jim of Maya's Westside Charters we barely got out of the harbor when a passenger spotted whales to the south and another spotted more to the north of us...we went to investigate -
Granny was in the lead!...Spieden and Onyx, though not side-by-side, were traveling parallel not far behind Granny!
...very cool - Onyx L-87 has taken up residency with J pod!
...Alki J-36 got a bead on a salmon...

...I wonder if she had another one in front of her!
...Echo J-42, Alki's sister was nearby with mom Slick J-16...

...Riptide J-30...
...his mom Samish J-14 and Hy'Shqa J-37 were present, but where were Samish's other two...Suttles J-40 was traveling by herself and Se-Yi-Chn J-45 was with Princess Angeline J-17 and her family group. that's interesting...

...looking back to the south we could see another group of whales - ah...that was the rest of Group B - Rhapsody J-32, Oreo J-22 and her two boys as well as Blackberry J-27 and his brother and sister...
...by the end of the encounter we knew that all of Group A and Group B were present except for Ruffles...
...Ruffles absence was apparent now...it would take a while for that realization to sink in...

Monday, February 21, 2011

2-21-11 Looking Us Straight In the eye

Monday, February 21st
I've been getting lots of questions...I have no answers, but here are my observations and thoughts regarding Ruffles...

Yesterday is the first time all of J pod (that's Group A and B) except Ruffles have been seen together since December 2nd...that's almost 3 months.

During that 'almost 3 months' time':
J pod Group A (Granny/Ruffles group) was seen with K Pod on January 3rd and January 7th.  Ruffles was not seen either of those times.  I believe the last sightings of him were in November in Puget Sound and then in late November off Victoria.

J pod Group B and the K Klik were seen January 22nd and January 26th.

In the in between times there were audio encounters with J and K pod vocalizations at various times during the night on various days, but since no visuals there could be no identification as to which J and K whales were passing by.

February 2nd, J pod Group B and all of K pod showed up in Puget Sound and stayed there for 8 days.

J pod Group B only was seen on Feb 13th.

J pod Groups A and B were seen yesterday in Puget Sound (February 20th).
~~
You may remember a year ago, January when during the days of January 26-28 we were all worried about Ruffles...we saw him, but saw no other members of J pod.  Last year on the third day of that 'ordeal' there was no sighting of Ruffles or any other whales...I wrote a post...

...and now once again it is looking us straight in the eye...

...but this year however, it is the opposite...we are seeing all members of J pod except Ruffles...

...he does have a reputation for being off to himself, but he has such a distinct dorsal fin...
...then again there's hardly anyone out on the water...
...and the seas have often been rough...
...but how long can we continue to use these excuses...

Ruffles J-1
...Ruffles is 60 (est.) years old this year...
...his life has been long...
...he has given life to many in his community...
...he has given wonderful gifts of fond memories to humans who have had the pleasure of 'meeting' him...
...I cannot even imagine how those who have known him the longest might be feeling right now...

...and Granny, just think of Granny and the rest of his family...

...so hold out hope we will, until there is no longer any hope to be had...
Added later:  Ruffles was not ever seen again.  Ruffles will live on in the hearts and minds of many. He will always be the Icon of the Southern Resident Community.