Do Not Copy

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

5-17-15 One Whale, One Boat, One Tree

Sunday, May 17th
...along the shore scanning for whales who may have come in this morning...no word on how many or who, but there were whales out there somewhere...I kept changing my location with the attempt at picking them up from a different angle...and it worked!

...I saw several coming across, spread out and looking like the Residents...I kept watching and soon I saw someone coming up island...and not far was a female and a calf...I could soon tell it was Eclpse J-41 and her baby, J-51...mom/grandma Shachi J-19 was ahead of them...
...Shachi kept on going up island...
...my Favorite Picture of the whole YEAR!
One boat, one whale, one tree and they're all in focus!
...that's the Center for Whale Research documenting who is present...
...it wasn't long before I could no longer hear Shachi as she went up island...
...and Eclipse and baby J-51 stalled out...soon another whale was approaching...she was quite far so it was difficult to tell who it was...that is until she tail slapped...I could see the notch in her left fluke - it was Granny J-2!

...Granny slapped her tail with force several times- not the lazy kind of way but the way she does when she is sending a message...I'm not sure if it was a message to a boat that was approaching or if it was to tell Shachi to come back down island, because about 10 minutes later I could hear Shachi as she exhaled, coming back down island...

...checking the Lime Kiln hydrophone recordings, from while I was out scanning, there were J pod calls intermittent for quite a while...but once they 'hit' the west side of the island they were out of range of this set of hydrophones...
...out on the Peregrine for an afternoon trip...by then there were reports of whales in about five different locations all around the islands...if only I had a jet pack (can't you just see that!)...the first group we saw and stayed with were the J16s...they have two of the new babies and both babies were present!-whew!-...the J16s were spread out and taking long dives...from what we heard all of J pod was spread for miles...
...Slick J-16 and J-50...


...Echo J-42 was spending time with Mike, her brother...more than she had last time we saw J pod, which was May 1st...I wonder if now that the babies have grown a bit, that she isn't needed as much to help her mother and her sister with their new offspring...
...Alki J-36 and baby J-52 were present but too far for any good pics of them...


...some proof of location images...
...Smith Island in the distance...
...Minor Island in the distance and behind it is Whidbey Island...

...as we were leaving we saw Soundwatch...I love this shot of them...ready for the season of boater education to begin! Go SW!!
...we left Soundwatch and the whales and headed for Whale Rocks to see if there were still some Steller sea lions (see previous post for an interesting video clip of the Steller sea lions yesterday at another location)...David was there on his sailboat and I had a great time taking pictures of that boat and the choppy seas we were in...

...by the end of the day there were still reports of killer whales in several locations - both transients and Residents, a Minke whale was seen, and a humpback or two...I'm still looking for that white porpoise from the other day too...
...yesterday there was one humpback in the area, that was all...it was Big Mama...and even though she didn't fluke very often, you could tell it was her by the big lump on the top of her right fluke...

...and then today, with all that activity you'd think there would be whales somewhere nearby tomorrow...here's hoping...
...I wonder more about J pod still being here tomorrow...I guess their presence and location or lack there of will tell us about the abundance or lack there of of salmon...
...I think the whales are our best barometer of what is going on under the surface...

...what have you done today or will do tomorrow to make a difference for the salmon and the ecosystem...no matter where you live your actions do make a difference...make sure they are making the 'right difference'...a couple passengers today said they no longer eat salmon - save it for the whales.

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