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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12-30-14 Blackberry J-27 the Main Focus Today

Tuesday, December 30th
...the last few days - when J pod came out of Puget Sound on the 28th, Blackberry had something on him, a satellite tag...but at that time I didn't know...I heard them faintly over the Lime Kiln hydrophones after 10 pm...but instead of them going out toward the open ocean, they went north...but I didn't know that until they showed up in Spieden Channel today...
...there is a tracking device page to see where he has traveled...

...it's salmon the whales need...if you haven't signed the petition to raise awareness to get some action done to remove dams on the Snake River - see upper right corner on this blog for a link to the Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative and read the petition and consider signing it...
...also if you live in Puget Sound and like to be outside and work with your hands check out Whale Scout...that group is doing good work in different areas in Puget Sound to improve the habitat for salmon...


...so let's move on to Blackberry, as he is the main focus today...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters, what a surprise it was to get a call, before the trip, that whales were in Spieden Channel...evidently before we had gotten on scene there had only been four whales seen, Granny J-2 and Oreo J-22 and her two boys...
...by the time we got to the area where they had been, it took a short while before seeing a whale and that first whale was Blackberry J-27...

...a close up of his satellite tag...
...another angle...
...the whales were spread way out in ones and twos...taking long dives...Onyx L-87 will often travel off by himself, but I don't think that is very common with Blackberry J-27...but then again just about everyone was way spread out...

...we had only seen Blackberry until one of the passengers, who is the 'lookout' when they go hunting, and boy does she have the eye!...no binos either...she spotted a whale over a mile in the distance...then a few others appeared off in the distance too...that was Granny J-2 and the J22s...

...we heard there were others to the north who were coming down toward Turn Pt., but they were too far for us to even see...and the ones we were with were heading up island toward Turn Pt...

...the whales continued up and into Swanson Channel...eventually we did see some members of the family groups in J pod, not sure about the J14s though, and we didn't see the J16s, BUT we heard that way up in front is where the J16s were and traveling next to Slick J-16 was a new baby, designated by the Center for Whale Research as J-50!
...we hope to see that baby in the near future...hope is all we can do at this point - hope that this baby survives...
...in the middle of waiting for the whales to surface from their long dives, a bald eagle and the moon gave a great opportunity shot...
...a little while later over by Turn Pt...
...so J pod headed north...tomorrow is another day predicted to be cold but sunny...maybe J pod will show up again...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

12-25-14 The Gift They Kept On Giving

Thursday, December 25th - Christmas Day
...just like Santa Claus J pod showed up in the night...
video

...and they were nowhere to be seen by daylight...

...a phone call came at about 9:00 a.m - whales on the west side!...I'm off and running again...
...not a sound be heard except for his blows...
video
...the peace of the morning went right down to my toes!
(Sorry, I can't seem to get out of this rhyming thing!)

...I had first seen them a short distance from shore...
...luckily they were eating and not in travel mode...
...after about 20 minutes they began to move on...
...the two youngest traveled closest to mom...
...I know one other had seen them from shore and others in their houses along the water may have looked out and received the gift as well...

...I hop in the car and down island I go...arrive at American Camp...take the hike out to Granny's Cove...running part way hoping, not to miss them!...on the big rock at Granny's Cove I scanned and waited...soon heard someone exclaim, "there's a whale!"...surfacing right in front of me! ...
...so two more received the gift...
...of course, now it's 'run' back up to the car...if you've ever been there you know what I'm talking about...
..to the car..(tired yet?...I sure am!)...and on down island to the last pullout before Cattle Pt. lighthouse...once again, within a couple minutes the whales surfaced right in front of me...I had to zoom out to get the bench in the picture...
...I glanced up the hill...two people stood still from their hike, watching the whales til they went out of sight...two more gifts received...
...one last pic before heading to the point...the people on the hill appeared to be fixed on the whales...
...at Cattle Pass two people were walking back to their car, so I mentioned their might be some whales coming this way...
...with her Santa hat on and her festive clothes, she and her honey went back to the rocks...we waited and waited but no whales could we see, until the 'Santa hat lady' saw their blows!...she gets the award for finding them again as they were moving away and out in the glare...two more received the gift from the whales today!...sweet!
...they didn't make it into Cattle Pass and continued to the east...
...now is that cool or what!?!?!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12-24-14 There Was More Going On Here

Wednesday, December 24th
...the day before Christmas and all through the day, J Pod showed up with travel, breaching, and play!
...that's Jones Island in the distance...
...in the opposite direction...
...what a treat for those on the international ferry...
...before the whales entered Spieden Channel...
...at this point it looked as if most of the whales were heading north and were going to pass between the east end of Spieden Island and Flat Top Island, but that changed quickly!
...it wasn't long before another boat came along...and seeing the way in which the people on the boat were looking, well, it seemed that there might be some other whales coming into Spieden Channel and closer to shore...

...it was very interesting to see Cookie J-38 and Granny J-2 traveling together...and that was definitely 'traveling together'...

...several minutes later Granny surfaced...

...Cookie J-38 was behind her...
...what I find significant about Cookie and Granny traveling together is that it's not common...Cookie is most often with his family and especially Rhapsody J-32 before she died earlier in December.  For Cookie to be with Granny, something is going on.
...I didn't see them for a long time today but on enough surfacings to conclude that they were together, at least for a while, and they were not mixed in with others when I saw them go by...
...off in the distance the J14s and others were moving into Spieden Channel...
...behind Granny and Cookie were Mako J-39 and Onyx L-87...
...Mako was born the same year as Cookie and they have been buddies all along...so considering the circumstances it didn't surprise me to see him with Onyx L-87 - but then again this is all summation on my part...
...also seeing Mako with Onyx reminded me of March of 2009 and an encounter with J Pod off the west side...the prior summer Mako's mom, Blossom J-11, had died, so the time frame was much different than the time frame of Rhapsody's dying and today, which is a period of just three weeks...
...however, back then Granny J-2 and Ruffles J-1 were with Blossom's three offspring - Blackberry J-27, Tuschi J-31, and Mako J-39 and they were quite far offshore from the rest of J Pod...they were moving in almost slow motion, intermingling, and in close proximity to one another...after a while Granny J-2 and Mako J-39 moved off and traveled toward shore, while the other three stayed where they were...
...Granny and Mako traveling together, well that too was unusual...

...to me, these are examples as to how complex they are in their society, their intelligence and emotional abilities...it sure seemed as if there was something much more than these two whales traveling together today...

-back to the encounter...
...the majority of the whales were on the north side of Spieden Channel...I did see some members of all the family groups, except none of the J16s did I see...they are an independent group and are off doing their thing...
...as the whales moved along west in the channel...I was lucky enough to get a picture of the Fallow Deer on the hill above the whales! Fun stuff!!
...as they left my view it looked like Granny might be making a turn toward the down island route but by dark they hadn't shown up...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12-23-14 Jingle Bells Orca Style

12-23-14

...and you can sing along too!!

video
 
..hoping for a better salmon year for the whales in 2015.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

12-22-14 Busy Holiday Time

A smile or two for you...
video

..note: all the video clips are from my files...


Saturday, December 20, 2014

12-20-14 What's All That Repetition About?

Saturday, December 20th
...on the 14th the whales had come north in Haro Strait at 4:00 in the morning...I learned several days later that they showed up in Puget Sound in the afternoon of the 17th and departed by the next day...last seen heading west...
...so, just in case, I was listening to the Port Townsend hydrophones and late this afternoon I began hearing something, but it was the same sound over, then nothing and then over and over...it drifted onto audio and out of audio and I couldn't figure out what it was...it sounded like a call, but I didn't hear any other calls...
...finally after close to an hour there was a distinct J pod call...
...so who is the caller of that one repetitive call?
...what are you saying?
...are you lost?
...who are you calling to?
...do you belong somewhere else?
...do you just not want to follow the rest down into Puget Sound?
...or are all of you on the edge of the hydrophone range and your calls are being picked up as you move around?

...this audio clip has a few segments, each separated by a slight pause...the first two are of the repetitive call, then there is a J pod call, and then the longest has the repetitive call and some faint other calls in the background in a couple places:
video


...four the last four hours at least...it's now after close to 9:15 pm and this call, along with the sometime additional calls who sound to be J pod - but not many of them...it's still going on...maybe some K pod calls now at 9:23 pm...

...this is the first time I have heard one call repeated over and over for such a length of time...
...however, if the whales were in travel mode, one of them could be doing that as they traveled along and we would never know it...

...it's another piece of the mystery of these whales...and a fascinating one too!

...back to listening to hear what else they might do tonight...
...added:  Here's what they did...
video

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12-14-14 Up the West Side In the Night

Sunday, December 14th
...it's 4 a.m. - "time to wake up!" it felt like the whales were saying, as they began coming over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
...so many calls - WOW!! -yet it took a few minutes before being able to confirm who was present...J, K, and L!!
...how many and who...don't know...they were long gone to the north by daylight...

...now I think I know why they were heading west, fast late in the afternoon on the 12th (I wasn't present out there but I heard about it)...they had heard their friends out west I'd guess...they met up and decided to come in and go north...

...the whales were so loud on both Lime Kiln hydrophone and Orca Sound hydrophones for an hour...it seemed they would be close to shore, but I could only hear what sounded like a percussive and it was miles off shore...
...here's close to two minutes for your listening pleasure...times that by 30 and and that's what went on...
...spectacular...
video
...the whales need our help in getting wild salmon to 'their plates'...if you haven't already signed the Change.org petition please read my previous post...or click on the link in the upper right cornet of this blog:  Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative - Endangered - Hungry - Dammed
...already signed the petition?...now share it with all you know who care about Chinook salmon, whales, fishing, the environment, the way of life in the Pacific Northwest, to name a few...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12-13-14 Take Action for the Salmon and for the Whales

Saturday, December 13th

...some people have been asking what they can do...here it is...

A group formed from the C.A.L.F. workshop in November, that was hosted by The Whale Museum, has launched The Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative to bring attention to get the Snake River dams removed.  
In talking with one of the organizers she shared with me; "This (removal of the Snake River dams) appears to be the single most effective and quickest hope for increasing Chinook salmon abundance.  Studies show that coastal Chinook is critical if the SRKW's are going to survive and recover." 

I encourage you to click on the link, read the text and consider signing the petition.  This is action you can take.


Wild Chinook have been on the decline for many years. It's no longer time for more studies, talk, and inaction. 
No salmon, no orca. 
Plain and simple.


The Fraser River Chinook salmon are also critical to the survival of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.  Since the Fraser River is in a different country there are additional challenges. 
Bringing the issue front and center in the U.S. may help increase and raise the conversation in Canada.  

The whales know no boundaries. 
It's time for us to model them and work as one to resolve this problem.

Please read/sign the petition today and share it with friends.
If you're not sure why, then read the Preliminary Necropsy Report written by the head of the Center for Whale Research, Ken Balcomb, who was present at the necropsy of Rhapsody J-32.




Friday, December 12, 2014

12-12-14 J Pod on the Hydrophones

Friday, December 12th

...The Center for Whale Research, Ken Balcomb, posted a preliminary report of the necropsy of J32.  link here:  Center for Whale Research


...in the early hours this morning, J Pod woke me up with their calls over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...
...a summary of their calls separated by a brief pause...the first is at about a minute after they began and the very last is when I heard them last...it was a total of about 30 minutes...
video
 ...it is nice to hear them once again... 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12-10-14 He Knew the Importance of Saving Her

Wednesday, December 10th
...with the winds and the storms we have had here the last few days, I cannot help but be grateful, grateful for where and when Rhapsody died, and grateful to the person who saw her and knew the importance to save her is the only way she could now be saved...

..if all that had not occurred we would have never known what happened, instead she would have just not returned with the rest of J pod...


...to see her on the TV news was a shock for sure...'here I am' it felt like she was saying...
...it's beyond the point of 'oh, how sad' it's beyond the point of 'cause of death undetermined'...and shrug our shoulders and move on...no!

...Rhapsody gave us her life and the life of her unborn calf...
...what more is needed? 

...her breaches are now silent and they will be missed...
...were there more to those breaches that we didn't see?...
...was she telling us something but we couldn't hear?
...with our eyes or our ears not going beyond...
...but, no, the salmon call has been out for a long long time...

...please, do something now...
...it must come quickly, the whales don't have much time...
...to fix the main issue of starvation is on the line...


...now it's back to pouring over images from the last several years...already they are revealing things that might not have been known before...

..lest they be forgotten, three others in 2014 died...
Lulu L-53, was known as the L pod breacher...during the summer she would often be seen with Group B...
...Indigo L-100...he too didn't return with his family...we will never know what happened to this magnificent young male...
...baby L-120...who brought everyone such joy and hope...
...and now J-32...

...we can't just remember them, something has to be done to stop all this dying.


are you familiar with 'the canary in the coal mine' phrase?...for more than 10 years the whales have been referred to like 'the canary in the coal mine'. 
Miners used to take a canary in a cage down into the mine and when the canary stopped singing they had better get out or they too would die.  'an indicator' those canaries were...and that's what the whales are 'indicators' as to what has been and continues to go on...and that affects the humans...
...and that's just beyond sad...

Friday, December 5, 2014

12-5-14 She Was Energy In Motion

it happened yesterday...on the CTV, Victoria news...they announced a whale was seen floating in the water near a resort at Comox, British Columbia...I grabbed my camera to get a screen shot for reference...

...but it wasn't long before images came of the saddle patch...it was Rhapsody J-32...oh, so sad is all I can say right now...

...she was here on November 29th with the rest of J pod...
...that is the day they disappeared before our eyes...a few days later it was said that J pod was seen passing Victoria, in the later afternoon, heading west...
...Comox is many, many miles to the north on the east side of Vancouver Island...Victoria is on the west side...J pod must have split into their two groups...but we many never know for sure...
note added on 12/6: Capt. Jim did some checking and learned that those who had seen 'J pod' had later realized it was K pod...so with that and with everything else that has occurred it appears that it is more likely that all of J pod had gone north...

...she gave people the gift of her energy and playfulness...
...and of her breaching - of course!...
...you could count on Rhapsody to be seen with certain other whales...Cookie J-38, was one for sure...maybe he was her 'best friend'...though it seemed she had many...


...her last gift might be that of the revealing of information about what is happening to this community......it is hoped that with a necropsy we will know for sure why she died...Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research will be there for that...

note: a bit of 'artist license' was used on my J-32 images today...