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Saturday, June 29, 2013

6-29-13 The Rest Of The Day with L Pod

Saturday, June 29th...continued from previous post
...out on Maya's Westside Charters for a late afternoon trip...down island we go to see the whales...all of L Pod was here and if you read the prior post you'll see that the day began at about 4 a.m. when they woke me up over the hydrophones...

...when we arrived on scene off the south end of the island, it seemed there were a few groups...one group was in a resting pattern...an interesting mix of whales in this group...Spirit L-22, Skana L-79, and Solstice L-89 are a family; Nugget L-55 and some of her immediate family- 3 of her kids...(it seemed that Kasatka L-82 and Finn L-116 were off with Mega L-41, Ocean Sun L-25, and a few others in their own little group)...Surprise L-86 and Pooka L-106 were in this large group too...others were Marina L-47 and Mystic L-115, and little Mystic, this afternoon, was 'hanging out' with Solstice L-89 (after they 'woke up')...Moonlight L-83 and Midnight L-110 and rounding out that family would be Muncher L-91...also in this large group was Calypso L-94 and Cousteau L-113...
...then this group woke up...Mystic has been quite the active little guy lately!
...a strange looking moment...
...develops into this! Power - such Power!
...here's another strange looking image...
...what's wrong with it?
...that's Solstice's dorsal fin and he's 'right side up' and Mystic's tail and he's 'upside down'...too funny...
...not sure who this is who is about to slap the water...

...Skana L-79 - he's as big as that ship!


...they had split into various size groups with action going on just about anywhere you looked...and then they stopped...
...and pretty soon they slowly turned toward Cattle Pass (the lower entrance to San Juan Channel)...
...as this was unfolding we hear that Mega and several others had entered the Pass and were heading up the Channel (thanks Hobbes for that!)...I couldn't imagine the others would follow - how wrong I was...the boat is with whales going up the Channel...4 whales are heading into the Channel...and the whales in the foreground are going right to left!

...they too began to turn and funnel into the Pass...

...the whales who had been offshore by over a mile were also heading toward the Pass...Crewser L-92 and Lulu L-53 passed by us...

...Mystery L-85, Matia L-77, baby L-119, Racer L-72...and...I didn't get them all as they came in because the ones who had made it up to Shark Reef (thanks again Hobbes) turned and were coming back down the Channel, as these were coming up!
...it was quite a sight to see...wow, is all I can say...that's Goose Island (image above and below)...and that house is on San Juan Island...the whales were coming back down...
...those coming up just turned and blended in with those coming down...



..and they all went out together...difficult to see the groups in this image...
...some boy breached...but this time it wasn't Mystic...someone a bit older...
...a double tail slap...that's the second time this year I've seen that...

...as they came out of the Pass they were picking up speed, turned the corner and started heading up island...


...some I only saw as they were coming back out of the Pass - Nyssa L-84 and Ino L-54 and her kids were all together...I saw Wave Walker L-88 back with Mega L-41 as they were coming back south in the Pass...(he was with Mega most of the day today)...

I'm always interested in who's with who and today was quite the day to see some very interesting groupings...

6-29-13 "J Pod Are You Here?"

Saturday, June 29th
...it began a little after 4:00 a.m. they woke me up on the Orca Sound hydrophones...a short while later I stepped out the door and could hear their blows as the came back down island...

...yesterday all the L pod whales were here except the L12s...so today when I was at the park and the whales were approaching, I was assuming it was L pod...but when I heard distinct J pod signature calls I was shocked!...was J pod here?

video

NOTE: the audio clip was recorded from the radio at the park (88.1fm) to my mp3 player.  The playback is a bit rough, but the 'downward end' of each of the calls is what made me think these are J pod calls.


...the leading whale was Lulu L-53...

...and then Ophelia L-27...

...in shore and behind them were many others...
...Nyssa L-84 - draped in kelp...
...Ino L-54 and her youngest Keta L-117...

...what a surprise when Mega L-41 surfaced (his group was not seen by anyone yesterday) with Wave Walker L-88...

...right in the beginning, as the whales were approaching, were the 3 distinct sounding J pod calls - huh?...what?...those calls came from some L pod whales, because no J pod whales were present...I've heard K pod mimic calls from Ls before, but this is the first time I have heard J pod mimic calls done by L pod whales...this is exciting!!!
...I think (and it's just my opinion) someone was calling to find out if J pod was here - during the time the whales were in vocal range on either LK or OS hps many of us were 'tuned in' to listen for that call again, but we didn't hear it again...
...these calls were also recorded on the automatic recording from the hydrophone system and were verified by Breanna - thanks!

...some of the kids were very playful...Fluke L-105, Pooka L-106 here...

...Keta L-117 surprised me, but I got 'a bit' of his/her action!
...then mom, Ino L-54 and Keta, when they surfaced past me...
...some had passed by...get ready, more are coming!
...Mystic L-115 was back traveling with his mom, Marina L-47, and his aunt Muncher L-91...
...yesterday Mystic was with Nigel L-95 and today as they went up island, Nigel was in that group that was farther offshore...with him was Keta's brother, Indigo L-100 as well as the L22s, and Mystic's sister Moonlight L-83 and her boy Midnight L-110, probably others too...the whales were in very mixed groups!
...they all went up and a little while later they all came back...
...when they came back down island, Mystery L-85 was the lead whale of those who came in closer to shore...

...behind him and a bit farther offshore were Matia L-77 and baby L-119...
...others were far offshore...the last group to pass a bit closer to the shore had put on the speed...
...as the last group came along I noticed a small sport boat with two people in it...they zoomed at high speed past the whales - evidently they hadn't read the guidelines for boating around whales...

...but they just wanted their pictures...and they got them...and they could have gotten them by driving a bit slower...please, when out there treat these 'humans of the sea' with the common courtesy...it's that simple...
...Mega L-41 along with Kasatka L-82, Ocean Sun L-25, and others came past the lighthouse and headed down island...
...all that and it was only 2:00!...

...by the late afternoon out on Maya's Westside Charters we went down island to see the whales...it was surprising to me that they hadn't gone west again, and we were glad they had stayed a while longer...
...to be continued in the next post...just too many images to share - it was very unusual and totally awesome day...

Friday, June 28, 2013

6-28-13 Most of L Pod Arrived Today

Friday, June 28th
...it's been almost a week since any Southern Residents were seen...needless to say, this is already a very unusual season...
...today L pod whales were spotted coming in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...out on the water we went to see just who was present...when we arrived on scene the first first whales we encountered were Wave Walker L-88, Nyssa L-84, and Ino's family the L-54s...here are four of the six of them...
...but there were supposed to be more so we went looking...after a while and several miles we found more L pod whales heading toward San Juan Island...they kept going straight toward the island and pretty soon they would have to pick 'up' or 'down'...
...Marina L-47 and her oldest offspring, Moonlight L-83 and youngest offspring, Mystic L-115, and Moonlight's offspring Midnight L-110 were in one group...I didn't see Muncher L-91(middle offspring of Marina) until a little while later...

...another group was the L4s - a big family they are...the youngest in this family is Jade L-118... at one point I thought L-118 was traveling with Nigel... that seemed odd, so I kept taking pictures to be sure...then once on the computer screen the right eye patch revealed that it was Mystic L-115 who was traveling with Nigel...makes much more sense now...
...as we left them, they were heading toward Turn Pt...Mystic's mom and family group up ahead, the L4s off in the distance to the east and I haven't a clue where the rest ended up...
...tomorrow might be a very interesting day...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

6-23-13 Let's Go To Sooke!

Sunday, June 23rd

...the L12s weren't on the west side this morning...but with the big ebb current during the night they probably just let it take them south and west...sure enough they were located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca heading west...however, when the current changed to a flood, instead of moving with it, they seemed determined to go west...
...and so did we on Maya's Westside Charters...all the way to Sooke, B.C.!...
...in the distance: Spirit L-22 and her boys, Skana L-79 and Solstice L-89...much closer was the rest of the group...
...Mega L-41 and Calypso L-94 (above)...Calypso L-94 and Cousteau L-113 (below)...
...Matia L-77 and baby L-119...
...at first look it appeared L119 has a new scratch...
...it was actually the tip of Mystery L-85's dorsal fin!

...Mega L-41, Matia L-77, the tip of Mystery's L-85 fin, and Ocean Sun L-25...
...passing near Sooke...bye, bye...


...there are just 7 more days in June...so far this has been a very unusual month and season...I think various combinations of L pod whales have been in the inland waters more than J pod in June...and K pod has yet to make an appearance...
...the last time they left they returned a few days later and brought others with them...we'll have to wait and see if they do that again...
...the whales want food and we want to see the whales, but if there is no food for them in here, do we really want to see them going hungry?
I think not.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

6-22-13 Whale Sightings Guaranteed!

Saturday, June 22nd
...leaving the harbor we came across our first orcas...
...this was just too funny...there were several little vessels like this, each tied to the other, making a long procession being pulled along by one larger vessel, and this was the 'orca boat'!!
...we knew the L12s were not far, so on down island we proceeded on Maya's Westside Charters to visit them...the L12s who, I think, are a very interesting group...
...there are two moms and each has a little one...the two moms are sisters, and they look very much a like - their saddle patches that is...

..Matia L-77 has the youngest offspring, baby L-119, shown here...
...also Matia has a notch on the trailing edge of her dorsal fin...not easily seen, but it's about 1/3 of the way down...

...Mega L-41...who is uncle to both of the little guys L113 and L119...he is often off to himself...he needs lot of salmon to keep him going...
...Mt. Baker and Cattle Pt. light in the distance (above) and big water in the distance (below)...long dives, zigging and zagging after some salmon...
...Ocean Sun L-25 is most often seen in the proximity of Mega when they are spread out foraging...

...there are the L22s, who seem to be spending a lot of time on their own...actually today they were a few miles from some of the others...
...and then there is Mystery L-85...
...Mystery lost his mother when he was young...then he lost his aunt when he was a teenager...he has a cousin name Onyx L-87 who travels with J pod...Spirit L-22 might also be a cousin- she has two adult boys and they stick to themselves mainly...Alexis L-12 became his companion and the two were inseparable, then she didn't return with L pod in spring 2012...and now Mystery is traveling with Ocean Sun, Mega, his sisters and their two kids...they make a nice group!...that is if you see them all together...
...it can get very confusing sometimes...
...of course when they are all spread out Mystery is a lot like Mega, off on his own, but in closer proximity to the two sisters and their kids...
...as we were heading back toward the harbor we passed by each of the small groupings or the individuals...10 whales spread out over several miles...
...Mystery L-85...
...one more stop...the eagle's nest with the eaglet...
...will there be enough salmon to keep the whales, even just the 10 of them in here?...if not that may be a huge 'wake up call' to the powers that be that something is just not right in the environment around here...of course, that could all change by tomorrow or the next day and the salmon could show up in huge numbers...which usually means the whales will too...
...let's hope...for the eagles, the whales and whatever else depends on salmon for survival...