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Sunday, October 12, 2014

10-12-14 Who Is That With the White Patch

Sunday, October 12th
...yesterday (10/11) J pod whales were seen heading west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the morning...so sometime last night they had turned around and headed back down...they had been very vocal over the Lime Kiln hydrophones when they went up island...

...today, Sunday, out on Maya's Westside Charters there were two trips...on our first trip we headed over toward Victoria where there were some humpbacks and with the hope that the Residents would be coming back in or some Transients would show up...

...there was a huge bird gathering...

...and where there are birds there is often something else near by...


...but no one saw any killer whales...we got word there was were humpbacks closer to home...and then it began to rain a bit...
...wondering how the afternoon might go...

...and no sooner do we get off the dock than we 'get the word' - ORCA!...someone had just made contact...need I say more?...:)
...we heard someone say, "one of them has a white patch." (see that white on the dorsal fin - above)...bingo - if it was on the left side it would be T38A ...if it was on the right side it would be T38C...
...with the rain, the whales being close to the shore, etc. - what a challenge...
...but it wasn't long before they made a kill...it was the last day for that harbor seal, but those whales had a meal...nature, it has to take care of everyone...

...we knew they were after something but couldn't tell much until that juvenile surfaced with the seal in its mouth...then two others came right at us and one spyhopped, as you can see...they will often spyhop when they have made a kill...
...but they didn't seem to eat it right away they moved on...
...it was a short while before we saw gulls coming down to the surface for some scraps...killer whales are messy eaters - with conical shaped teeth that interlock - lots of ripping but no chewing...
...back to that white spot...
...T38A...first time I believe the T38s and T35s were photographed in these inland waters was one year ago...maybe they will make this an annual visit...
...it was time for us to go dry off...we went one way and the whales went...
...so far this fall we haven't seen all of those two family groups...maybe they too will show up soon...who we saw today were: T38A, T35A, T35A1, and T35A2
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...no sightings of any of the Southern Residents today...they are where the food is...maybe there will be enough for the whales to want to follow it in...and hopefully eat it before the fish make it to the hooks or nets out there...I'd prefer the fish make it into the mouths of the orcas...

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