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Friday, November 6, 2015

11-6-15 Predictions- Nasty Weather and No Whales-HA!

Friday, November 6th
...the weather prediction was for strong winds...
...the prediction was we would most likely not see orcas...
...almost guaranteed prediction: we would not see Southern Residents... 

...out on Peregrine with Capt. Jim at the helm, we leave the harbor...it's not flat calm and the seas were beginning to build...uh, oh...Kelp Reef was very choppy...things were not looking good...
...we went north looking for a humpback blow...off in the distance a humpback surfaced about three times and then went down for a long dive...
...we get word that three killer whales were seen and a humpback...we go looking and along the way try to figure out how far those whales, if there actually were some, would have traveled up island by now...
...Capt. Jim says we head back down...just outside of Snug Harbor, where we had departed from a while ago...a humpback!...


...moments later, a short distance farther down an orca!...then two...first I ID Slick J-16 and then Mike J-26...
...and farther behind them was the rest of the family...
...big sister, Alki J-36 and her offspring, Sonic J-52 were present too...and we stayed with this group...of course...little kids, who doesn't love to see baby killer whales?!!...the little ones were definitely into play mode...

..most of my images of Sonic J-52 in the morning were of Sonic and Echo...but here is one of first time mom and calf...
...and the back to Sonic and Echo...

...we moved up island to see Mike and Slick...the seas were flat calm too...
...Mike was on his back, showing off his private parts and Slick breached a couple times...Mike rolled on to his side...



...a short while later, off in the distance Mike surfaces with his chin up and his mouth open...it appeared he might have a fish in his mouth...

...lousy picture, showed up better on the camera...there is something sticking out of the left side of his mouth...I can't be sure but his behavior and the birds afterward led me to think...

...often when a whale gets a fish they will be under the surface for a few minutes...when they surface again they usually move along...today Mike slipped back down under and surfacing moments later, he immediately began to travel, with purpose, toward his three sisters, Echo, Alki, and baby Scarlet, and his nephew, Sonic J-52...when he was in the vicinity of them gulls began to show up which is sometimes an indicator of fish scraps...
...the group of four came together and Mike continued on...whether he shared a fish with them or not, I can't tell, but it made me wonder...they do share food...
...it was time for us to go back to the harbor...


...about 45 minutes later when we came back out the whales had basically not gone anywhere...
...but Alki J-36 and her almost 8 month old, Sonic J-52, were heading in the opposite direction from the rest of the family...
...at one point they seemed to be a mile away...yet we knew they were in communication with each other...
...there was an approaching container ship, loaded, and Alki with Sonic kept going into the shipping lane...
...just before the ship got to them Alki surfaced and turned directly toward the ship.  Huh?!?...she must have been teaching Sonic something...whether about the noise of the ship and how to deal with it, the water changes when a big ship passes, what to stay out of the way of, or maybe how to surf the wake of a freighter...or other things a mother orca will teach her offspring that we humans don't have a clue about...
...the ship went on by, she was on the near side of the ship when she went down...several minutes later they surfaced again still moving to the south... 
...over to the rest of the family...
...Echo J-42 was in charge of, Scarlet J-50...

...they were nearer to Slick J-16...Mike J-26 was off doing his own thing...
...all six of them were in the same up/down line in Haro Strait as opposed to being on one side of the strait or the other, if that makes any sense...
...oh, and another humpback...
...we knew that Alki and Sonic were heading back up and I was hoping to get one image of the four of them back together... 
...we left them and headed over toward Battleship Island to see if there were any harbor seals... there were and in addition to the harbor seals was a LION!
Yes!...a few years ago a nine year old girl on the boat saw the lion...
hint:  profile of a male lion - amazing...today the passengers saw the lion too!
...it has to be the right angle and with the grey skies it really showed well... 

...I snapped a pic of Lime Kiln lighthouse in the distance...
...not that late in the day but the beacon was on...and another image of snow on the Olympic mountains...not much but after a season of no snow (very unusual)...
...then Dall's porpoise showed up on our way to or from Kelp Reef to see the Steller sea lions...then we headed to the harbor...only to have me knock on the cabin door to let them know there was another humpback out there!

...almost in and a bald eagle took flight from the rock pile at the harbor entrance...


...it's November 6th - what a day! 

...and as I was going through images of the day, the J16s came over the Orca Sound hydrophones...that was at about 6:00pm and again after 10:00 pm

 

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