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Friday, July 3, 2015

7/1-3/15 Ever Changing Days

Wednesday-Friday, July 1-3
Wednesday, July 1st

...whales were coming in front the west...out on

Peregrine for an afternoon trip the whales began to disperse as they got closer to San Juan Island...as we arrived on scene Granny J-2, Onyx L-87, Samish J-14 and her family, Shachi J-19 and her family and Lea K-14 and her family all headed up island...Tahlequah J-35 and Notch J-47 surfaced right by us - "ah! so the J17s are here"...but we didn't see them after that...



...off the boat and to the west side I get there just in time to see some whales turning and going back down island...it was the J17s and Tsuchi J-31...hmmm...that was strange, I wondered where Blackberry J-27 and Mako J-39 were... I realized later if I had read the encounter reports from the Center for Whale Research (link on left column) I would have found out where those two and others were!


Thursday, July 2nd
...4:00a.m. wake up 'call' (Lime Kiln hydrophones) from the whales!...I figured it was the J17s and Tsuchi from late yesterday...but that was a guess...

...8:30 a.m. Granny and the whales who had gone up yesterday (see above) were coming back down island...
...by the afternoon trip on Peregrine both groups were south and east along the bottom of Lopez Island...just as we were arriving on scene the whales were grouping up and coming back west...when they were reaching the east opening to Cattle Pass Granny and the 4 K14s - Lea K-14, Lobo K-26, Yoda K-36, and Kelp K-42 - who were in the lead, stopped and remained at the surface.  The others continued on and now Granny and the K14s were the trailers. 
As the whales crossed the entrance to the pass and reached the west side, they turned and quickly went into the pass (strong flood tide).  The J14s, J19s, J17s, and J-31 were the whales who went into the pass.  They traveled up past Goose Island, a small island on the east side of San Juan Island, and did a sweep across to the west side going down, hugging the shore line, traveling between Goose Island and San Juan Island.  They were in the pass for about 20 minutes. Their behavior, while in there, was similar to the earlier encounter this year when they (L pod whales) went into the pass except this time they didn't stay as long.

Now J2 and the K14s were in the lead and remained that way, and a good distance ahead of the rest. Granny and a few others ended up at Kellett Bluff and foraged for a while and then turned and went back down island, meeting the others and they all went down...okay everyone in the same place -whew!








Friday, July 3rd
...well that 'whew!' didn't last very long...
...shortly after 4:00 a.m. this morning another 'whale wake up call'!...
...I waited and watched and saw some offshore...was able to ID Lobo K-26 and Kelp K-42 and I could hear others up ahead of them...all going north...
...but I didn't know exactly how many...
...a long while later I get another 'call'...more whales on the Lime Kiln hydrophones...I figured that was the second group - sort of how they had been yesterday...I waited for them...oops!...I should have gone to the park because they didn't get into my view and turned and went back down island!

...out on Peregrine in the morning to attempt to see who was where...
...Shachi J-19, Eclipse J-41, and baby J-51 were here and with them were Tahlequah J-35 and Notch J-47...what an unusual group...we left them and headed down island to see who was there...at first we saw Princess Angeline J-17 heading back down island and it looked as her other family members, besides Tahlequah and Notch, were also heading down...and then we saw the J16s!...when did you show back up?!







(...Granny and her group had evidently continued north this morning and were heading up...possibly toward the Fraser River...)
...by mid afternoon the whales had made it up to the lighthouse and passed it...or some of them did...

...Tahlequah J-35 now had baby J-50 by her side...for a while...when they reached Kellett Bluff they split up as they often do...Mike J-26 foraged along the outer side and some of the others went deep into Open Bay...when they moved on, the J16s and the J19s were in close proximity...but of course that didn't last long...
...I know 'what a saga' ...they continued to move north but the two family groups split apart, sometimes one group ahead of the other and then they would drop back...
...Tahlequah and Notch...they too came along but were well behind the others...
we left the J16s, J19s in the Strait of Georgia...Tahlequah J-35 and Notch J-47 were behind them, but we last saw them coming up toward East Pt....

...all that and then we learn of more whales on the west side in the late afternoon...
...to have Tahlequah J-35 and Notch J-47 split off from their family...well, that's just one more unusual thing to add to this season...and it's still very early...

note:  7-3-15 there were lots and lots of salmon, leaping and leaping high...heading up...it was a wild sight to see...I believe they were Pink salmon...but 'they' say that the whales don't eat Pinks...they sure are echolocating a lot with less chatter...finding food is serious business.

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