Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Sunday, December 20, 2015

12-20-15 The News Came from the Ferries!

Sunday, December 20th
...at first it was at about 8:15 and 5 to 6...no make that 6 to 10 or 12...no make that 2 females and a juvenile...okay, take your pick!...seen from the ferry that was coming across...it was on the south side of Shaw Island coming to or leaving Friday Harbor...but then it was Wasp Island...not...(note to self - take navigational map with you next time)...
...getting to Ruben Tarte Park and seeing a friend and his family there too...we could pick up blows way, way in the distance...
...the last of the blows we saw were on the San Juan Channel side with Shaw Island behind them...that was at 9:15...they looked like they were coming up the channel...and that was all...hummmm..

...at about 9:50 a.m., Andy spotted a humpback whale coming down from Flat Top area into San Juan Channel and going down island...(distraction #1)...

...a few minutes later a boat comes down from the north west and appears to be going across the channel but then stops...hummm...(distraction #2)...
...during distractions #1 and #2 - we were looking across and to the north...J Pod had evidently just appeared coming west along the south side of Shaw Island...had they come north we would have seen them soon enough...
but as it stood the distance was great and the whales turning the corner and going away...well, we might not have even been able to see their blows...

...by 11:00 and no killer whales seen for the last two hours, the wind picking up, the rain starting to spit, and being the only one left standing there getting really cold...time to leave...
...it was because of something Hobbes said..."they might have split up."...with that niggling on my mind I decided to go to Cattle Pass...what the heck, the sun was shining on west side of the island and I needed to get some miles on my car (after a big repair job), so down island I go...half way to Cattle Pass I get a message from Capt. Jim that 20 to 30 killer whales had been seen going west along Shaw Island toward San Juan Channel and that was about an hour ago (during distraction #1 and #2!)...

...would I make it?...it had been over two hours since that large group was seen...I drove faster...and now the question was, "do I stop at the top of that huge hill and scan out into Haro Strait in case those whales had already exited the pass or do I go all the way down to the Cattle Pass parking area."...something said..."keep going!"...

...just as I am pulling into the lot I see dorsal fins just to the up island side of Goose Island - "oh, my goodness, I made it!"

...it looked like all of J pod was together today...saw the big boys - Mike J-26, Blackberry J-27, Doublestuf J-34 for sure...saw lots of babies too...
...they went by quickly and pretty nicely grouped up...I snapped away...thinking that my camera was capturing all those cartwheels, a spyhop and the south end of Goose Island, a breach or two...
...then they got a bit distant so I took a bit of video...
video

...I followed them out of the pass and watched as they appeared to have found some fish...they had split up, were lunging this way and that, for several minutes...and some even looked like they might head up island...
...taking a picture of a couple of them with the grasses along the shoreline looked pretty neat...I looked at the picture - IT WASN'T THERE!...neither were all but a couple of the other images I had taken - arrgh!  What have I gone and done now?

...I watched as they got closer to Salmon Bank marker...this time the image registered in the camera...
...seeing that they were heading west, well, I was glad...a dear friend of mine was going to be on the big boat of Eagle Wing this afternoon, and he hasn't had the opportunities to see the whales much this year...today he would...and he most likely will get to see all those J pod babies...
A Merry Christmas to all who know and love these whales.
Now let's give them a good Christmas and years to come 
with lots of wild Chinook salmon! 

And if the whales show up again before Christmas...I'll say it again :)
And if I get those images out of my camera I will post them!

1 comment:

Andy said...

Fun way to start the morning. Glad you caught up with them.