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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

4-30-14 How A Steller Sea Lion Eats an Octopus!

Wednesday, April 30th
video
...yesterday it was Pacific white sided dolphins...today it was a Steller sea lion eating what was thought to be a skate...until I looked at the few photos I took...yikes!
Capt. Jim was taking pictures...I'm sure he got some good ones of that octopus...
...that explains what the long 'things' are - the tenacles...
...it wasn't until I zoomed in on this next image and saw the suction cups...

...in March we'd seen bald eagles eating an octopus...and it continues to be a strange year...

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

4-29-14 U-Turn for Pacific White Sided Dolphins!

Tuesday, April 29th
...no word on whales anywhere today, all day...as we were heading back to the harbor Capt. Jim gets a phone call from Capt. Craig at the helm of the Western Prince...as Capt. Jim was talking the boat was turning back around..."what?...where?"...LAGS!!!

...amazing! simply amazing...
..just like with the whales every encounter with the Pacific white sided dolphins is different...today they seemed to like being in the stern wake...
...enjoy...
video


...it has not been common for these to be in this area...but for the last couple months they have been encountered many times.

Monday, April 28, 2014

4-28-14 Greeted With A Spyhop!

Monday, April 28th
...leaving the harbor on Maya's Westside Charters with rough seas we were going to attempt to get over to Victoria area...my, oh my...we could hardly believe how the seas were calming down...it was beautiful!...and we were on our way to whales!
...upon arriving, we were greeted with a...
...the T65As were having a meal...and soon began traveling...in the right direction for us - toward San Juan Island...

...along her trailing edge at the top is a bit of a lump...since it was challenging remembering all these numbers...well, she was one of the first so I gave her a nickname so I could remember her - Lumpy!
...with Trial Island in the background the whales were still heading toward San Juan Island...

...
...we left them heading up Haro Strait on the Vancouver Island side...
...and we didn't think we would see whales today...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

4-26-14 The T123s Save the Day!

Saturday, April 26th
...it was quite late in the day for a trip...4:00pm...all day long no whales sighted except for the two males who look alike, were heading west...out of our range...and then just as we were about to leave the harbor Capt. Jim of Maya's Westside Charters gets a call, Simon of Ocean Ecoventures was the 'hero' of the day when he spotted a humpback whale and then the Ts...
...with no one on scene by the time we would be arriving, it was a gamble but the whales were coming down Trincomali Channel and we were going to be going up that channel...
...one of the passengers spotted the whales first - way to go Barb!...this sail boat was just coming from the shore and had an encounter and a spyhop from T123C...
...it was a bit choppy making it challenging for pictures!...we too got lucky...
...
...the possibility of 'take out' food may have been why the little one was all over the place...


...the whales were coming east away from the dark clouds...
...I guess this really shows what an overbite he has!
...mom, T123, looks to be healing from all those scratches...
...here's how it looked a couple weeks ago...
...I'll send this to the Center for Whale Research to get confirmation or not on the sex of this little one...
...T123C was bouncing around alot...


...making it a challenge to get them all up at the same time...but this was when we first saw them...a family picture :)
...a couple weeks ago when we encountered this group - link to that post - they were coming down through Active Pass...it seems they spend a good bit of time up in this area...

Friday, April 25, 2014

04-25-14 Painted Feet and Leaping Sea Lions

Friday, April 25th
...I stopped to do a quick scan...well, that was lucky!
...I watched the minke for about a half hour before leaving for a trip on Maya's Westside Charters...
...we looked, as others did, but the minke was not seen again...if you know minkes that's what they do...
...over at Kelp Reef is where we will often at this time of year, find Steller sea lions hauled out...check out the video clip of the Steller leaping up on to the marker...
...no leaping today, but I noticed something on the flippers of one...


...I know there had been work going on at the marker not long ago...I've not ever seen flippers looking like they had nail polished 'toes'...
...no whales today, but if there had been we might not have been so lucky as to come across what we did at Green Pt....not only were there Steller sea lions in the water but they had friends - several of them!...all males...
...over the last few days we had seen one California sea lion intermingling with the Stellers at this same place...what surprised us was that number increased today...
...a male Steller sea lion can be more than twice the weight of a Calif. sea lion...
...with less weight they can surprise you much more quickly! 
...four California sea lions, plus at least two others who were with the Stellers...then I learn from a friend who was a Whale Rocks looking at four California sea lions at the same time we were looking at these...
...last November I posted - sea lions and sail boats - during the Round the County sailboat race, standing along the shore at Lime Kiln there were 5 California sea lions were traveling down island just ahead of over 100 sailboats...
...California sea lions are commonly seen in areas surrounding the San Juans, such as Race Rocks in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Bell Chain islands in the Strait of Georgia...it just hasn't been common to see them closer to home...
So many things have been different already this year. 
It's intriguing.
It's concerning.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

4-24-14 Chainsaw Gave Us Another Look!

Thursday, April 24th...yesterday we had barely an encounter with T63 Chainsaw and friends, but they headed off north and we stayed with a group going south...
...Chainsaw and friends changed their minds and came back south today...they were spotted south of Kelp Reef heading down...out on Maya's Westside Charters with Capt. Spencer at the helm for an afternoon trip, we joined the search for Chainsaw...
...we had been scanning but saw no whales...all of a sudden the capt. turned the boat and we knew he had gotten word over the radio...and off we went!
...Chainsaw has such a tall dorsal fin he can't be missed...
note:  Someone asked a couple questions about T63.  He is a big male and his dorsal fin is just big, just like many other adult males. He acquired those notches somewhere along the way which may add to 'his look'. Of course the angle of these images can add to 'the look' as well. Scroll down to look at images in this post to get a profile look...his fin is not out of proportion.
...T65 was closer to the Victoria shoreline and T65B and her offspring T65B1, were close to a mile in the offshore direction with T63 in the middle...


...
...they did come together as they continued heading west...
...
...the last two times I've seen T65B-1 there was a dark splotch on the left eye patch...today it was not there...may have been some skin slough that had been going on...Vancouver Island in the background...

...and with the building seas it was time to head for the harbor...we left them heading toward Race Rocks...
...yesterday we made it back 'safe, sound, and dry'.  
Today we made it back to the harbor 'safe, sound, and wet!'  
(a couple of us anyway)  :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4-23-14 From No Orca to Lots!

Wednesday, April 23rd
...word of transients coming down!...out on Maya's Westside Charters we meet up with some of the whales as they head over toward Sidney, BC...
...we pass by T65B and her little one, who has grown a lot...and off in the distance see T63 - Chainsaw and T65, his constant companion...
...there were some others with them...when they surfaced again they had split...

...we stayed with the group that had the kids...
video
...

...they took the channel west of James Island and we had taken the Sidney Channel!...they had made a kill...we arrived just in time for their celebration!
...baby-T124A5 and ?...
...'heads up'!
...they continued down the Channel, still had some of the meat with them...

...we last saw them with people along the shore with the dogs playing...and several of the young kids who must have been playing with seal parts...staying in one spot, fins going in all directions, etc!
...it was a wild ride back to the harbor and we all made it safe, sound and dry!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4-22-14 First Humpback of the Season!

Tuesday, April 22nd
...we've been looking for the humpbacks, any humpback, one humpback would do...
...then finally on April 21st there was a humpback over by Race Rocks in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...
...it evidently had traveled this way and was picked up by one of the Island Roamer boat folks, who was hiking on one of the Canadian islands - lucky for all who got to see the humpback today.
...especially Colin and Amelia - ages 3 and 2...they were so excited when they saw their very first humpback...Colin said that he was going to invite his friends to come to see the humpback - it was so cute!
...that's a Bonaparte's gulls...lots up by East Pt. today...


...in the morning on the way out of the harbor I saw this GBH with a funny looking top notch...maybe just blowing in the wind...
...Capt. Jim and future Capt. Colin!


...now for those two kids to see the orcas in the wild and they'll be some new life long lovers of whales...who will tell their friends too!