Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Thursday, July 31, 2014

7-31-14 Breakfast At Bellevue Lunch at Turn Pt

Thursday, July 31st
...so we begin the day with the K14s coming up past the lighthouse at about 6:30 a.m....continued on to Bellevue Pt. and there they 'had breakfast' of fresh salmon...and came back down island at about 8:00 a.m.


...Group A was somewhere up north and hadn't been seen yet...it wasn't long before they were located north of East Pt (Saturna Island, BC)...out on Maya's Westside Charters to meet Group A as they came down...four whales were in the lead - Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41, Granny J-2 and Alki J-36...Granny and Alki were traveling as a pair, which was unusual (note to self: pay attention to Alki)...as they were getting into some choppy water...



...Shachi did several dorsal fin slaps - is that possibly a 'scare up the salmon' tool they are using this year?...with a loud 'thwack' it certainly get's my attention and it might get the 'attention' of any salmon that might be near by...
...they continued on down Boundary Pass and by the afternoon trip the whales were just about to round Turn Pt...
...and so was that ship!
...that's a great example of distortion of distance perception on the water.

...after rounding Turn Pt. they began going down island...
...like they used to do...but no...they turned off shore and crossed over to the west side of Haro Strait and stalled out...we could see lots of foraging...and as we watched..."there's a whale going north"...a minute later "there's another facing north" and pretty soon they were all moving north into Swanson Channel...


...they may have been waiting for the K14s who were heading up island...


...eventually they all went up Swanson Channel, through Active Pass and on toward the Fraser...
...two days in a row they made that loop...for a reason too...FOOD.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

7-30-14 Rope Swings and the Whales

Wednesday, July 30th
...when the day began there were whales heading out west, whales coming down from the Fraser, and transient killer whales over near Matia Island...
...so who was still here today?
...Group B, the rest of K pod, and the L pod whales had gone out (except Onyx L87 who is back with Group A)...
...Group A and the K14s - that's who was still here...a total number of 17 whales...
...as they came down Boundary Pass even that small number of whales (17) were spread all over the place foraging and traveling but not moving very fast...some of the K14s and the J16s were together - visiting one boat and then another and being very playful as they did...
...find the dog and the whale...
...the 36s - that is J-36 and K-36...
...most of the action was off the bow of the boat, but not this one...
...this one - straight off the bow and plenty far out...
...Mike had just been foraging when he surfaced like this and just stayed hanging on the surface for several moments...
...he and others eventually moved across and were acting like they were going to head up Swanson Channel - and that's exactly what they did!...a couple weeks ago they did the same thing...
...people on boats were enjoying the whales...
...but I was concerned for the whales with the two unpredictable objects swinging across and above the surface of the water...luckily the adults must have realized and the kids stopped...
...predictability is important...the humans need to be predictable for the whales...just like we like it when the road traffic is predictable...

...the K14s continued down island and foraged along the way...


...watching them as they cooperatively foraged continues to educate me...it took them about six hours to get from Turn Pt. to Lime Kiln which is something they have commonly done in the past in two hours or less...

...there were some very weary people hanging out at 'whale waiting park'...and then when the whales got there it turned into 'whale watching park' as the K14s passed by slowly, giving the folks on shore some very nice looks at the whales...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7-29-14 That Seal Got That Salmon

Tuesday, July 29th
...morning at the park waiting and looking for the whales to come up island...and instead of whales we were treated to these two harbor seals and their salmon...
 ...I couldn't figure out the second seal...it wasn't eating on the salmon, nor was it trying to take it away...I would guess a pup, but it looked too big to be a pup...I guess they were two very cooperative seals...

...close to noon the whales came up island, the first two whales I saw were Marina L-47 and her youngest, Mystic L-115...they appeared to be near the leaders...
...as we continued moving up island on Maya's Westside Charters others came into view...Slick J-16, Mike J-26, Alki J-36, Echo J-42, Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41...Lobo K-26 (which meant that the rest of his family would be present)...Onyx L-87...the J14s...and Surprise! L-86 and Pooka L-106 too!
...Onyx L-87 was back with Group A, and it looked like Granny J-2 was way up in the lead... and now there were some L pod whales and some K pod whales 'hanging out with' Granny's Group...
...all these whales had just about made it out of view at Kellett Bluff, when a few turned around...
Mike, Marina, Mystic, and Muncher all started to come back down island...then they stopped and they appeared to be foraging...


...now if Mike came back down island with these L pod whales where would the rest of his family be?...
...we had to leave the scene, but came back out about a half hour later...and saw five whales heading down island...they were the five L pod whales who had come up...Muncher, Marina, Mystic, Surprise and Pooka...Mike J-26 was no where to be seen...since the seas were not looking nice down island, we turned back toward the north and eventually saw Mike and his family - the J16s, steadily moving north...but they were a few miles behind Granny's Group - Group A and the K14s...who we went on up to see...

...as Group A and the K14s got farther up Swanson Channel, the whales momentarily grouped up just as a sea plane landed...it reminded me of when this occurred before in this same location - see that post - this time however, they didn't linger like they did the previous time...I wonder what sound they are hearing from a sea plane landing (or taking off), and if it would cause them to pause...maybe, maybe not...sea planes are very loud above the surface...but what about under the surface?...it would have to happen many times to be sure that it wasn't just circumstantial... ...they were moving at a steady pace and after a while they entered Active Pass...and so did we!...it can be a spectacular place to go through, even when there are no whales...but add whales and the ferries...oh, my!!

...there are people on that rock just about every time the whales go through Active Pass...

...on the way back toward the harbor we searched for the J16s, but couldn't find them...then I learn that the J16s (Mike and family) had gone up Boundary Pass (north east) and hadn't followed behind Granny and the rest of them up Swanson Channel (north west)...but they would meet up sometime during the night, most likely...


...and those L pod whales who went back down island?...well, they passed by at the park, heading back down island to where the rest of the L pod whales were (not the L12s - they were not in here), and to where J pod Group B and the rest of K pod was - oh, about 50 whales...

...the salmon is sparse...the whales are using all their tactics for flushing out the salmon and they are masters of that...now if enough salmon will just continue to slowly move in that would be great...or for that matter 22,000,000 salmon would be even better...but that official prediction is just about to be squelched...unfortunately...

Monday, July 28, 2014

7-28-14 What Was Wave Walker Up To?

Monday, July 28th
...they are so mixed up...which keeps me so mixed up!
...out on Maya's Westside Charters we meet up with whales who were coming back down from their trip to the Fraser River...
...the first of the whales we saw were the K13s and the K Klik (Cappuccino, Opus and Sonata)...we traveled along with them until shortly before they reached the lighthouse...Spock K-20...
...by mid afternoon the rest of those who had been to the north began approaching Kellett Bluff and Open Bay...they were Group A, the K12s, K14s, and Blackberry J-27 and Tsuchi J-31...what a combination!
...that is Tika K-33 next to Onyx L-87...
...


...passing along San Juan County Park...
...along the bluffs just north of the lighthouse, where one of the peregrine falcon nests is...
...after all that waiting...

...that was confusing - where did he come from?...I got confirmation from Dave at the Center for Whale Research that L-88 had been down island all day long!
...so when I saw him in my pictures he had come up and met the others at the lighthouse!...whew!

...so at the end of this day everyone was down island...that is except for the L12s who have not been in the inland waters since the middle of July...Lulu L-53 has not been seen this season either, but we all hold out hope that she will show up...

...someone jokingly commented that the whales were around too much...and I replied with "and there isn't much salmon."  With that they said they thought there was lots.  WRONG - NOT...
...their foraging techniques are very different from anything I have observed over the last 10 years...
...it reminds me of when the Transients go after a harbor seal...circling, changing direction, working together, and then down for several minutes - eating!
...I think they are following small numbers of salmon that are coming in and eat what they can and then go back out and look for another group to come in...but then again I'd have to put on 'my orca suit' to really find out!

It's been a great year for the humans watching,
but is it a great year for the whales?
I think not.

So far that prediction of the huge sockeye salmon return 
was just that - a prediction.
It has not yet occurred.
 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7-27-14 Crazy Days of Summer Whales!

Saturday/Sunday, July 26/27th
...the whales were gone on the 24th and 25th...everyone was expecting a long absence...but on the 26th some were coming back in...it started to become a crazy mixed up time which will probably just continue!
July 26th
...at first it was L pod coming in...then some said they were watching K pod whales...when we were on scene on Maya's Westside Charters with Capt. Andy in the late afternoon we saw only K pod whales too...





...then in the evening as it was just about dark and some of the whales had reached the park...I heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones what sounded more like a couple J pod calls...there is this one call that reminds me of the Three Stooges program - "nek-nek-nek"...and yet others said it was L pod whales that had gone past the lighthouse...and then I heard calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones until close to 11pm...but did any continue up island?...crazy day!
...as I was reviewing my images I noticed Cali K-34 had a new nick.  It looks pinkish...I looked at previous images of Cali from the last time I saw him, the day before they went out and couldn't see the nick...that was also the day he and Onyx L-87 seemed to be spending a lot of time in close proximity...just wondering...
July 27th
...whales began to appear on the horizon at about 8:30 a.m....lead by Cali K-34 who was out ahead of all the others...Onyx L-87 was no where around - at least in the beginning of this pass by at the park...Cali was followed by members of his family group the K13s...
...but mixed in with them were a couple L pod whales - Muncher L-91 and Marina L-47 and Mystic L-115...
...more came along...


...still more came along...and the parade of whales lasted until at least 11:00a.m.
...oh, but that wasn't all of it...some whales turned back down island before they even made it to the park and stayed down there the rest of the day...others were miles off shore - Cappuccino K-21, Opus K-16, Sonata K-35, and Sequim K-12 with her two youngest - Rainshadow K-37 and Saturna K-43...
...the other two members of the K12s - Sekiu K-22 and Tika K-33 - were close in...but they weren't the closest! - it was one of those magical pass bys at the lighthouse...people were in amazement as to how close the whales were...with so much under the surface right along the kelp line...

...and the rest of the day...as Capt. Jim put it:  "Are you with the north-north group, the south-north group, the north-south group,  or the south-south group!"

...and inquiring minds want to know ' Who is Onyx with today?'
...as they were passing by the park Onyx L-87 was very close to shore, and near some of Group A whales...looks like he is back with Group A...at least for a while!
...I found it interesting that Cali K-34 was so far out ahead of all the others as they passed by at the park this morning...I got a look at the right side of Cali's dorsal fin...the nick was not noticeable on the right side like it is on the left side...

...whales were in many unusual groupings today...Blackberry J-27 and Tsuchi J-31 seem to have ended up going north with Group A and K pod...Mako must have stayed back down island with the other Group B whales...

...while out on the boat we saw Fluke L-105 surface, pushing something...
...I don't often get to see them playing with their food...

...when I first looked at 'the something' that he was pushing I wondered if it was a harbor porpoise, mainly because of the color, but my images weren't that good...then he gave us a half eaten view...
 ...that was a very large salmon!


Let's hope
there are more
out there
for the whales to get!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

7-23-14 One, Two, Three, FOUR!

Wednesday, July 23rd
...Granny does like the early morning up the westside...but it took a phone call to wake me up!...sit back, relax, pretend you are here...enjoy your morning with the whales...it's not exciting, it's just the whales being the whales, living their early morning day...
video

...up they went  at 5:20 past the lighthouse - pass by #1 of the day...I saw Lobo K-26 and others but no other large male...I was looking for Mike J-26...I wonder where he and his family are...they were here yesterday...

...10:00 a.m. down they came - pass by #2 of the day...



...now I could confirm that Mike J-26, his mom Slick J-16, and the other two kids Alki J-36 and Echo J-42 were not with them!...then I learn from Ivan of the Western Prince that those four whales were seen out at Sooke, BC, west of Victoria!...I know these four have gone off on their own in the past from time to time...now we can add this to that list...

...this afternoon at about 1:40 and in the rain Granny and 'her crew' came up island - pass by #3 of the day...this time in the rain...



 ...this evening at about 7:30 down island they came - pass by #4 of the day...


...Other whales?  none seen anywhere...

...salmon...it's getting more and more difficult to find...not good...that can change in a day...let's hope that it does!