Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Friday, May 31, 2013

5-31-13 A Heart Shaped Blow

Friday, May 31st
...J pod came past  Lime Kiln lighthouse about 1:30 today...moving quickly down island...
...it wasn't until close to 7 pm that they came back up island past the lighthouse...
...as the J14s approached there was some tail action so I grabbed my video camera...here's a snippet ...the little one is baby J-49...
...it was the last day for a group of students from Ripon College, located in Wisconsin, and they so hoped the whales would come by...and they did!

...only half of the whales passed by the light...I wondered where the other half was...then almost an hour later I spotted them about 4 miles offshore in a resting pattern...it was Group B and they were about an hour behind Group A...at least they were all heading in the same direction!

...it was their blows that helped a person spot them so far from shore...and it was a beautiful sight, even that far away...
..notice the heart shaped blow (I zoomed this image in to show the blow better)...I have seen this several times with the killer whales, but they aren't the ones who are supposed to have that...I'll have to investigate more...

...and a San Juan Island sunset - wow!

...today I saw what appeared to be more foraging in kelp beds...yum... salmon...I hope!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

5-30-13 A Day Full of Whales!

Thursday, May 30th
...I love being awakened by the whales...

...and then to run out the door to meet them...
Slick J-16 and two of her offspring were in the lead as they came down...whales were spread for miles...I saw a big splash at least 4 miles away and then several moments later the sound carried over - yep, that was a whale...
...there was a play group of kids, Slick's other offspring Echo J-42 was in the play group with one other female - Star J-46...

...that image looks like there are only 4 whales, but on closer look in the next frame...
...the others were Mako J-39, Se-Yi-Chn J-45, and Notch J-47...I would have expected Moby J-44 to be in that group, but he was with his mom and Polaris J-28 and they were the trailers as they passed by the lighthouse at about 7 a.m.

...and then home I went to get ready for the day (ha!)...and then run back down to wait for them...
...I could see dorsal fins in the distance but up close a California sea lion surfaced!...maybe he saw them too...

...as some came in close to shore at the park...
...looks like Polaris may have added to her 'body art'...
...someone having some fun...
...then back home to watch from there...
...Hy'Shqa J-37 and baby J-49...
...a different playful group from this morning...
...Samish J-14 and Rhapsody J-32 with some others...
...and then one more time...the whales started to go back down island!...a quick trip to the park to see if they all came back down...and then to the boat - whew!...out on Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon we went down island to see the whales...but of course they were coming back up again!...
...in small groups, spread out...
...Se-Yi-Chn J-45 lost his brother Riptide J-30...who did not return in 2012 and is believed to have died (Center for Whale Research)...Riptide and Se-Yi-Chn were seen together often...and it was so neat to see the 'littlest one' (that's what Se-Yi-Chn's name means) with his brother who was 14 years older... 
...so when I saw Se-Yi-Chn and DoubleStuf J-34 (who is 15 years old) together today it reminded me of how often I had seen the littlest one with his big brother...now Se-Yi-Chn has a nephew, baby J-49, who maybe he can be 'big brother' to in the future...
...with them was Cookie J-38, also a male - 10 years old this year...Cookie is DoubleStuf's younger brother, and the three of them were being very playful...
...Cookie J-38 and Se-Yi-Chn J-45...

...the last group of whales to come up were the J16s and this time all four were traveling together...
...Harlequin ducks flying along behind Alki J-36...
...as they were moving up island they abruptly changed direction...looked like Mike J-26 might be after a fish...a few minutes later Alki was off to her self...she was far away, I couldn't see a fish but I could sure see her teeth!
...I hope she had a salmon in that mouth of hers...
...and not to miss the Victoria Grace a fine sailing ship...

...like I said before...it's like 'magic land' around here!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

5-28-13 Would They Ever Return...

Tuesday, May 28th
...would they ever return?...I was beginning to wonder...humpbacks have been more abundant that any killer whales in the last several days...just before heading out on Maya's Westside Charters to see what we could see, word came that Transient orcas were near Active Pass...
...on our way I heard that a humpback was in the area too, and that it was the same one who has been around...even though researchers only use the underside of the tail flukes for positive IDs, this humpback, BCY0324, has an interesting lump...this image I took in 2008...
...we didn't see her today, but thanks to a friend who I had been talking to about that lump, I knew who it was...
...when we arrived on scene to see the Transients, they had come through Active Pass and started to head toward the east side of Salt Spring Island...but they turned, passed a couple small islands...
...made a big loop and headed back up toward the pass...
...T124A2A...so that meant that the T124As were there...and more...
...with mom T124A2 and grandma T124A...
...see that notch?...that's T86A3...looking further mom and older sibling were present too...
...as I looked through my images I saw that T124A1 was present...last time, this whale was seen traveling with the T86As and not the T124As...keeps us all confused and 'on our toes' !
...that's the light station on Prevost Island...just south of Active Pass...back up they may have gone...I don't know...we had left the scene to head for the harbor and then we hear...'INBOUND'...that will be in the next post...too cool!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

5-25-13 More Transients and a Different Humpback Today!

Saturday, May 25th
...I saw these whales May 12, 2012 and May 11, 2011...and since they showed up today - May 25, 2013, maybe they are giving us a clue as to how much the calendar is off this year...by maybe two weeks???

...we went out west of Victoria to meet incoming whales - 4 Transients - this afternoon, on Maya's Westside Charters...it took until I got home to be able to figure out just who it was...
...a sprouter (male), a female, and two juveniles...
...a few moments after we arrived on scene they went after a Harbor seal...that Harbor seal sure hung in there a long time before he became an afternoon meal...
...the Harbor seal was about to charge the whale...
...T77B lunging after it...
...one of the kids, either T77C or T77D, and the Harbor seal...
...I thought that maybe they had made the kill, but in a few moments the Harbor seal surfaced again...
...more lunging and a few minutes later the whales began to move off, then T77 surfaced swimming backwards...I'm not very good at stringing images into a clip, but this will show you T77 surfacing tail first, and using her tail to move herself backwards...then T77B surfaces coming towards her...

...she had the meal...and pretty soon some gulls came swooping down...yep, lunch had been served...
~~
...while we were out there with the killer whales, we learned of a humpback whale coming north in San Juan Channel, passing Friday Harbor...on our next trip we were able to catch up the the humpback up by Sucia Island...
 ...we heard the humpback had been breaching and breaching and just wouldn't quit...we missed that, but she was showing the underside of her tail when she sounded (taking a deep dive)...giving us clear ID shots...BCY0409 I believe is her ID...
...a glimpse of what we missed- this image is from last summer - July 2012 - when she was doing a lot of breaching while moving north up the west side of San Juan Island!
...another interesting note about her, is that last year I was told that she had been seen in Hawaii in January 2012...

Friday, May 24, 2013

5-24-13 The Humpback Stayed and Transients Showed Up!

Friday, May 24th
...a humpback whale in the area again today, a bit north of here...
...Transients in the area today too...they were to the south...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon...what a decision - north to the HB or south to the Ts?...
...we chose north first...and hoped the Transients would come up island - we got lucky!
...same whale as yesterday - BCY0324...going in circles at Morseby Island...just as we were about to leave we got this opportunity with a BC ferry in the distance...
...back toward home to see the Ts...it was T20 and T21, the T86As...and T124A1, who I have seen traveling with the T86As before...
...this is T21 on the left and T124A1 on the right...

...often T20 and T21 are seen traveling alone...here they are today surfacing together...
...so it's always interesting to see them with another group...
...T86A3 has a really neat notch...(T86A and T86A1 were present today too)
...as the whales were traveling up the west side of Henry Island there were a few minutes of direction changes, lunges and lots of splashes...there is a whale in all that...and possibly a harbor seal too!
...I'm not sure if they were successful or not as they didn't stay very long...
...but there was a spyhop...
...and thanks to those scratches, just above her eye patch, I know this is T21!...I got lucky!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

5-23-13 To See Orca Yesterday One Had To...

Wednesday, May 22nd
...be in Homer, Alaska!!  that is just too cool...thanks Christina for sending the article...it's very interesting...and they were in Katchamak Bay too..and they were offshore killer whales...spotted at first by Ashore Water Taxi...go to their map to see that service area...I know the area since my son and family live there...it's great to know I have whale spotters all the way in Alaska!... :)

...yesterday on Maya's Westside Charters we had a nice encounter with a Minke whale...

...then today. Thursday May 23rd, along the west side of San Juan Island there was a humpback who couldn't seem to make up her mind as to which way she wanted to go...if one was going to follow this whale from shore they needed a full tank of gas today - up island...no, down island...oh, no, up island...no, down...


I decided to just sit down and wait for the whale to go whichever way she wanted because she was practically outside my door, though at a distance...
...lucky for me she sounded going away from me, so I was able to ID her by the underside of her tail...I believe her ID # is BCY0324...I have seen her before...actually I saw her last year with her calf...
...she surfaced again and sounded again...this time much farther away...but that ship made for an interesting look...
...and then finally back up...she continued going up...at least for now...oops...she came back down again!!...she has been doing this since early this morning and right now it is about 5pm.

...4 of the last 5 days - Residents, Transients, Minke and a Humpback each on a different day - talk about mixing it up!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5-21-13 Magic Land

Tuesday, May 21st
but first...after seeing a harbor seal eat an octopus on the evening of the 19th, something occurred the next morning that I haven't seen before...both these events caused me to wonder...
...on that next morning along the west side looking for whales...I saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree...not an uncommon sight...the eagle remained there for over 45 minutes...
...when a Steller sea lion surfaced not far from shore that bald eagle took off right for the Steller...another eagle appeared and they were both after the Steller...if the Steller had a fish I wouldn't have thought much about it, but the Steller was just taking a breath - that's all!
...all I could think of is:  "they're that hungry?"...which also means:  "is the salmon that scarce?"
I don't know the answer, I just thought that both the harbor seal/octopus and the eagle/Steller sea lion incidents to be very unusual.

...on to today...
...a small group of marine mammal eating orca (transients) came past the lighthouse this morning...very cool...not a common thing for Ts...I didn't get much of a look at them when they went by, but Dave from the Center for Whale Research let me know it was the T124As...this is a group with a new baby...
...luckily these whales didn't keep going south for too long...they flipped and came back up Haro Strait a few miles from shore...leaving the harbor on Maya's Westside Charters  in the early afternoon was great timing...the whales just very close by...
...T124A1 was not traveling with them...the last time I saw T124A1 was in March traveling with several others...
...the newest member of this group has quite an alpha-numeric:  T124A2A
...this marker up in the Canadian Gulf Islands...
...two of the members of this group...
...they continued to move north slowly, not changing direction too often...
...on our way back to the harbor Capt. Jim just had to stop for these two...
makes you feel like you live in 'magic land'
...these two tall ships - the Victoria Grace and the Pacific Swift...
...I mean I already live in 'magic land' being graced by killer whales, bald eagles and more...and these two magnificent ships just topped it all off for me today!
...the only thing that I would want more of is to see salmon, lots and lots of salmon for the whales.
...I guess J pod went looking for them...