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Saturday, May 10, 2014

5-10-14 It Was a Family Orca Day Today

Saturday, May 10th
...J Pod left the area this morning...seen west of Race Rocks heading west...and in the afternoon 'Lumpy' T65A and family showed up...they are such a fun group - mom and her four kids!...
...when we got on scene on Maya's Westside Charters the whales were in travel mode...then there was this kerfuffle and one of the older kids surfaced covered in kelp...
...at first it looked like they were going after something...there was a spyhop a bit of direction change...it was only the two older ones, mom and the other two were up ahead...no birds...it appeared they got into play mode...
..her two oldest were certainly entertaining...
(that boat is plenty distant from the whales)
...these two - the playful ones...
...they goofed around for a long time...then began to move closer...

...whales friends and a human friend on that boat!  Hi Ron!

...aahhh...all babies are so cute...
...this little one already has lots of marks on it...not sure what from but they are very raised looking now...will be interesting to watch how they change...then off we went...this Steller sea lion...well, the picture says it!
...as I was writing this post...I began to hear transient calls over the Orca Sound hydrophones...pretty sure it was them!...intermittent and faint...here are a few of their calls...
video

NOTE TO Joe and Breanna...if you are reading this:  Joe look up diatoms about those whales (Antarctica orcas) who keep the yellowish tinge that you mentioned...and find me a short understandable definition!  thanks!
Here's what I learned from Joe:
"Diatoms are tiny (generally microscopic) phytoplankton, meaning they grow using the sun's energy like plants on land.  It turns out that whales living in the Antarctic regions show the yellow coloring in their skin as a result of diatom growth.  These whales have also been observed migrating to tropic waters where it seems their only purpose is to shed and regrow skin and then return, white as ever, to the Antarctic waters.  On these trips they do not appear to slow down for extensive feeding or calving and seem to just make a quick trip to shed their yellow skin and regrow white skin and then return to the Antarctic (like a spa trip!)".

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