Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Monday, June 30, 2014

6/29-30/14 Non-Stop Whales!

Sunday/Monday, June 29/30th
..throw out the books...or maybe go back many years...
...the whales are sure doing things differently this year than last, and the year before, etc.
summary:

...J pod-Group A went to the Fraser River again without Group B and without the L pod whales who have been in here...
...Group B and the L pod whales have 'taken up residency' along the west side at least for the moment...

...in the afternoon - 6/29 - on Maya's Westside Charters we headed down island to meet up with all of J pod and the L pod whales...
...we saw were members of the J16s...
video


...the whales were all mixed together...when they began coming up island Granny J-2 seemed determined to go north and take the rest of Group A with her...
...a few members of Group A socializing with some L pod whales before heading north with Granny...
...and the play continued...



...after the boat I went to Lime Kiln to see if I could catch them coming up island...they were spread out and slowly moving up...when it seemed like they had all passed by, people began leaving, including me...but when I got home I noticed they hadn't progressed up island very far and in fact some were heading back down...
...off to the park again...it was only about 6:30, so there was plenty of daylight remaining...
video
...and one more video...loaded up to YouTube because of the length...
hope you will feel like you are right there at the park...
 
....Ivan of the Western Explorer had been with Group A and they were still heading north when he left them...we'll have to wait to see where they show up tomorrow...
...so tomorrow came - June 30th - and Granny's group - Group A - was still up north...Group B and the L pod whales were still here along the west side...
...and it seemed that summer has begun and common courtesy has gone 'out the window'...
...I guess the people on the boat didn't see those people on the shore who were watching whales...this boat, under power, was traveling very close to shore, next to whales...
...another boat inshore of the whales...not an approved behavior for humans...
...actually the whales were behaving much nicer than some of the humans driving boats...
...it was a frustrating afternoon with many other instances of boats deliberately parking in the path of whales - wrong!
...as for the whales...they know the boats are there, they navigate around and under them...but they shouldn't have to...it is their ocean not ours...


...now back to the whales...
...the whales were having a great time...


...they didn't get much farther north before they turned and went back down island...I didn't make it to the park in time today...but maybe tomorrow...they were here early in the morning this morning...perhaps they will be again tomorrow morning...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

6-28-14 Afternoon With the Whales at Lime Kiln

Saturday, June 28th
...it was time for some shore days for me...so much has been going on both along the shore and from the boat...I'm very fortunate I have choices...so today I made the choice to stay on shore...
...J pod, Onyx L-87 and members of who I call the 'Blackjacks'...once upon a time there were 21 of them in these four family groups - L4s, L26s, L37s, and the L21s...so the name sort of stuck...
...it was mid afternoon when the whales began coming up island...there was some interesting behavior...not sure if they were corralling salmon or playing a game...
...the spyhop in the one image and the adult in the above image are the same whale...Tsuchi J-31...maybe the other two are the same in both images, but I couldn't tell...

...though it would be great to see a big salmon in her mouth...
...someone surfaced facing the shore...
...it was Blackberry J-27...he was with his brother Mako J-39...as we were watching them, someone else surfaced even closer and in the kelp!...but didn't straighten up to see the dorsal fin...I would think it was their sister, but she was up ahead with a different group...or did she travel back and join her brothers?...
...there was a storm brewing on the Vancouver Island side making the lighting quite interesting...especially when things are usually back lit in the afternoon...
...this would normally be full of glare, but not at this moment...

...the storm moved on to the north and east of us...and the skies got clear again...

...the whales traveled north...and came back down later, when it was almost dark...they passed by my place shortly after 9pm so I decided to enjoy them as they went down island...I heard their loud calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones and I hoped those who were at the park got a chance to see them before dark set in...


Friday, June 27, 2014

6/24-27/14 Porpoising Practice Days!

Tuesday through Friday, June 24-27th

6/24
an unusual day of travel...
Down President Channel and into San Juan Channel...they turned back up island and hugged the shoreline!...and traveled through Rocky Bay - with O'Neal Island on the outside -now what was really unusual...
...Spieden Channel is becoming a popular location for whales this year...and then they porpoised their way down Henry Island...
...and on down the west side for the rest of the day...

6/25
...in the fog in the morning...clear at the park when they started coming by...
...Granny and her group were in the lead...one of them gave these kayakers a moment they won't soon forget!
...and the porpoising began again...
...Granny's group had gone up this way, while the rest of J pod and the Ls stalled out north of the park...and soon some of them began porpoising...

6/26
...a day of rough seas and whales who just couldn't quite make it up to the light...then in the late evening the whales came up island...loud on the Lime Kiln hydrophones and only a couple faint calls on Orca Sound...did they go north or...?

 
6/27
Granny must have told them "hush" because there were no more calls...there was no ship noise either...because on the 27th here they came back down from the north!
...the activity of the week - propoising!
...Granny's group was back with the others, and had most likely been the day before but the rough seas and spread out whales didn't make it easy for IDs and since they never came past the park...
...as they came by the lighthouse in the late afternoon on Friday, Mike J-26 stopped and foraged for several minutes...and then...
...thanks Mike!
...I wonder what next week's 'activity of the week' will be...
 
all trips were on Maya's Westside Charters
and, of course, from shore was at Lime Kiln Pt. State Park

Monday, June 23, 2014

6-23-14 Orca Dorsal Fin Slap Demonstration

Monday, June 23rd

...they were all together at Salmon Bank...
...they came up island on a gray day...
...in the lead was Granny J-2...
...they headed for Active Pass...

...along the way someone stopped...
video
...not sure what this was about...I believe it was Hy'Shqa J-37...
...a few minutes later another whale came over toward her...
video
...J pod was in the lead...
...
...on Maya's Westside Charters it was time for us to turn back...but we'd be back...
...when we returned J pod was already past the coal docks and heading for the Fraser River...luckily for us the L pod whales had turned toward Pt. Roberts and foraged as they moved east...
...our parting shot was Crewser L-92 and Mt. Baker...
It was still a gray day
brightened up
by the presence of orcas!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

6-22-14 Dorsal Fin Slaps by Jade L-118

Saturday, June 21st
...the L pod whales (I call them 'The Blackjacks' because there used to be 21 of them - you know the card game)...they had split off from J pod yesterday...
...well this morning they came up island...
...for a while that is...then out on Maya's Westside Charters in the afternoon we went down island to see the whales...Tucker and his crew were out...
...we were surprised by two humpbacks traveling in close to shore...

...we watched a group of the L pod whales in and around Eagle Cove...it appeared they were moving some salmon in one direction...or they were finding what they could and would then get it into the center of them...
...at one point there was an 'after that salmon' type lunge and a few more at the surface...
...then all were down for a while...when they surfaced they began to move up island...I had noticed one of the younger ones doing a lot of dorsal fin slaps...I have seen dorsal fin slaps before but this time there seemed to be a purpose to them...mainly because there were so many and there wasn't any play behavior that I could see on the surface...then later as they began traveling, Jade L-118 was doing them again...and this time it seemed to be fun as others in the group were 'being wiggley' too...
video

...Capt. Jim put in the portable hydrophones...we heard these funny squeaky sounds...then when I got home and listened to what I had recorded over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...well, there they were again...same calls, different locations and different times...
video
...the whales did become playful as they moved up island slowly...
...well, a few L pod whales got almost to the light before turning around and going back down island...
...where was J pod today?...they were east...then north...then northwest...
...they'll be down tomorrow...it's just trying to figure out which side and when - Ha!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

6-21-14 It Was a Group A and Group B Ending

Saturday, June 21st
...I met two college students early this morning who were all excited to see whales in the wild...
...they told me they had seen two whales near South Beach and came up island as fast as they could so they wouldn't miss them...
...who could those whales be?...
...a couple hours later I learn from Capt. Jim that there were two whales spotted off Eagle Pt....could be the same ones?...

...one more hour and Dan of Orcas Island Eclipse Charters finds whales!...and he found 45 of them!

...when we arrived on scene on Maya's Westside Charters we saw two large groups of whales...J pod and Onyx L-87 in the lead group, except for Blackberry J-27 and his brother Mako J-39 were in the trailing group that consisted of the L pod whales - L26s, L4s, L21s, L72s, and Nigel L-95)...
...we saw no behaviors other than slow travel...they traveled in tight groups until Kellett Bluff, where the L pod whales turned back down island, and so did J-27 and J-39...however, it wasn't long before Blackberry and Mako left the L pod whales and got back together with J pod...
...the J pod whales and Onyx L-87 continued up island...
...then someone spotted transient orcas!...it was the T49As and T36As...and they were just having some fun...

...the Js and L-87 kept moving along...and some of them moved out into the middle of Haro since the Ts were in closer to shore...
...in Active Pass...
...

...


...at the end of the day, for the first time this year, J pod was actually back in Group A and Group B!
 



Friday, June 20, 2014

6-20-14 Whales From Sun Up to Sun Down!

Friday, June 20th
...it was going to be a three trip day today on Maya's Westside Charters...I wondered if the whales would still be here...
...it didn't take long to find out...up at 4:45 a.m...and 25 minutes later I hear whales over the Lime Kiln hydrophones! - Oh, my - they stayed!
...dashing to the Park...I miss them again...I was beginning to wonder what I had heard over the hydrophones because it took about 20 minutes before I was able to locate them way out in mid channel in what looked like a wide line resembling a resting pattern and up island from me by close to two miles...
...we headed out of the harbor at 10a.m. and caught up to the whales in Swanson Channel...I didn't have a clue who might be present today...and had expected that maybe the L pod whales had gone out...
...some were in the middle of the channel...
...others were close to the shore in mixed groupings...Finn L-116 was surfacing with Blackberry J-27 for quite awhile...of course Kasatka L-82, Finn's mom was present...some of the J17s were in the group too, and some of the J14s...

...I was able to see enough of the whales to guess that the L26s, L4s, L21s, L72s and L95 were present, the L12s were not, and J pod was still here...
...in the afternoon by the time we arrived the whales had just entered the Pass...

...the big cartwheel we saw earlier...someone else was up to it this time...





...an up close moment for these folks as the whales rounded one of the corners in the pass...



...



...and I already knew that yesterday was spectacular...well today topped that!
...and then late in the afternoon, just a few miles outside the Harbor - Ts!
...the T49As and the T36As...



...then I learn that the Js and Ls had already turned and were coming down Rosario Strait...will they be here tomorrow?

J pod has been present
in these waters
all but 2 days
since May 31st...
Is it correct to assume that the whales are getting enough 
to eat or they wouldn't be here?
Will all our concerns for enough salmon be put to rest - for this season?
No matter what, we cannot get lulled into thinking 
there is plenty for the long haul.
Think salmon restoration for now 
and for the future.
The whales are depending on us for that.