Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8-25-15 They Met By the Lighthouse

Tuesday, August 25th
It continues to be the most mixed up whale season I've ever experienced!
And so to begin the day I'll start with where all the players were at the end of yesterday:
Below the lighthouse:  The L12s, L54s, L92, L90, J22s, and the J17s.
Above the lighthouse: everyone else!

Chapter 1
...out on Peregrine with Capt. Jim for a morning trip we headed north to see those who were coming down...spread far and wide in Boundary Pass...
...some began porpoising...

...as they got closer to Turn Pt. more began porpoising (which they often do when in that area)...

...rounding the corner someone breached, soon they would be passing Lime Kiln lighthouse...


Chapter 2
...no afternoon trip...so off to the park to watch the whales coming down...
...when I got there, there were a couple whales just down from the lighthouse milling, and no direction...one was DoubleStuf J-34...a few calls could be heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...they were J pod calls, but then there was an L pod call in there too?...that was curious...

...then I spotted another whale at least a mile offshore...a male, he too was milling...

...the whales that were coming down from the north were very slowly making their way down...some were in closer to shore than others...those others were about a mile offshore...there aren't a lot of pictures to show you, because the whales were spread out and traveling...having the hydrophones added a layer to the experience and witnessing of what you were seeing at the surface...
...this will give you an idea of the distance between the inshore and offshore whales -


...DoubleStuf began to move up island slowly...at the same time Crewser L-92, who was offshore, moved up island too...around this same time a lot of calls started to come over the hydrophones...
...they were calls from whales coming from both directions!
...this was getting quite exciting...DoubleStuf, his mom Oreo J-22 and soon Cookie J-38 moved up island and met with the in shore whales who were coming down, Granny J-2 being one of them...it all happened just about in front of the lighthouse, making it a really unique opportunity to watch it unfold...
...at the same Crewser who was a mile offshore met with other whales out there...
...there was a mix of J, K, and L pod whales both inshore and offshore...maybe DoubleStuf and Crewser were the greeters :)

...there was no fancy greeting ceremony that could be seen, but there was a lot of chatter as they approached one another...those going up, turning and all going down island with the others...

Chapter 3
...out on Peregrine with Capt. Jim for a late afternoon trip...(was that perfect or what?! - no afternoon trip so I got to see all that unfold at the park)...and now off for the next chapter of the day...
...somewhere after passing we met up with Nigel L-95 and Mega L-41.


...interesting group combinations this summer...

...Midnight L-110 and his mom, Moonlight were with the group at one point too...


...we knew that Js and Ks were somewhere out there, so we went looking for them...we did happen to see 'The Cookies' a couple miles off of Eagle Pt. heading south...we went back to see the L pod whales for a few minutes before heading back to the harbor...I always look for everyone and there are some that I really look closely for...Ballena being one of them...she's had some struggles in the last few years, so I'm glad when I see her.

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/23-24/15 I Still Couldn't Find That Whale

Sunday, August 23rd
...the whales came down from the north and by mid afternoon were passing by Lime Kiln Pt. State Park...they were spread for miles - north to south and east to west...
...Crewser L-92 has a unique fin shape and since he is an adult it won't change...I call it a 'designer fin'...and now Tika K-33, who I call 'designer junior' has a fin shape very much like Crewser's, so much so that the two are being misidentified often...Tika's fin, however, is still growing and changing and he has a fin that changes its look depending on the angle you are seeing him...always keeps us wondering...
 ...bubbles...

...their calls were heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones for over an hour and were mixed between J, K and L pods...

Monday, August 24th
...8:30 a.m. and I was actually there before I knew whales were coming...finally I didn't have to run!...after about a half hour, I thought I heard a blow in the distance, but I couldn't find the whale...only one blow and five minutes later, one blow, I still couldn't find the whale...so I knew he/she had to be far enough away that by the time the sound reached my ears the whale had already gone below the surface...
...it took until the fifth blow until I finally found him...it was Cali K-34...he was in the lead and way ahead of the rest of his family...
...then some of the L4s and the L47s came by...
...Nugget L-55 and Takoda above...Takoda L-109 below...
...a pause for a harlequin duck fly by...

...and then no one else...but there were many more whales out there at the end of the day yesterday...hummm...after almost two hours I decided I needed to get some food...so I went to get food...I missed a huge group of some J and K pod whales going past to the north - arrgghhh!!!

...it was 11:47 when I got to the shore line and I had just missed that large group, but right in front of me were the L12s, the J22s, J17s, and the L54 group (includes Nyssa L-84 and Wave Walker L-88), and Ballena L-90 and Crewser L-92...with the L12s showing up it looked like there might finally be a superpod!...it was the L12s who were 'holding things up'...



...they got less than a 1/3 mile north of the lighthouse when they began to change directions, so many were going so many different ways...maybe they were deciding who was going to go where...

...then some went back down island...Spirit L-22 then started to come back up island and was doing some 'fierce' looking repeated tail slapping...

...and a surfacing like this...maybe she had stunned a salmon and was now getting it...I don't know but I would like to think so...

...then Moby J-44 surfaces behind her...

...then Spirit surfaced going down island and with her were Joy L-119 and Notch J-47...Notch seems to be 'everywhere' when the little kids are around!
...I just zoomed in on the two of them...
...for a while it looked like they might continue north, but eventually they went back down island...


...it lasted about 2 1/2 hours!
...I am hoping tomorrow I will see them coming from the north so I can fill in the gaps from today...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

8-22-15 Almost A Superpod But Not Quite

Saturday, August 22nd
...6:30 a.m....far in the distance I could see Lea K-14's saddle patch...which meant others had indeed arrived in the night...
...at 9:30 a.m. they came up past the park...


...some were far offshore in large groups...and many groups in close...when I saw that Ballena L-90 was with Crewser L-92...well she hasn't been in here in quite a while!...so I was now on the lookout for the others who hadn't been here...
...out on Peregrine with Capt. Jim whales were passing by as we came out of the harbor...we slowly made our way to the outside...and that's when I had to stop and 'process' oh, my that's the L54s!!  WOW!...this is the first time this season they have made it in this far!...and it's the latest I've ever seen them in the 12 seasons I've been watching these whales...
...with them were Nyssa L-84 and Wave Walker L-88...they had been documented by the Center for Whales Research earlier in the season, but they just hadn't made it to the lighthouse or anywhere near there...that is until today! 




...after leaving the main group of Js and Ks and some of the Ls, and we were heading back toward the harbor, we stopped to see the L54 group and some other L pod whales...they surprised us by coming to the inside of Java Rocks...something I think the Residents rarely do...that's Java Rocks behind Ino L-54, Coho L-108, and Keta L-117...
...that's Saturna Island behind these two...
...approaching Monarch Head, as they continued on up...even though they were way behind the others I believe they joined up with them somewhere along the way...guess I'll find that out tomorrow...

...it looked like just about everyone was here except for the L12s...almost a superpod...but they were going to keep us all waiting...

Friday, August 21, 2015

8-21-15 Someone Is Coming In!

Friday, August 21st
...it was about 10 a.m. when the whales came up island...about 15 L pod whales present and 7 K pod whales...an unusual grouping...but this is who stayed in when the rest of J and K pod whales left...
...Skagit K-13 and Nugget L-55 were in the lead...then came Muncher L-91...and then Spock K20 and Comet K-38...Lapis L-103 and Surprise! L-86...and others mixed here and there...they were off shore.
...they were barely past the lighthouse...turned and went back down island...
...my first thoughts. "Someone is coming in!" I was even more convinced that some were coming in when, in the afternoon these same whales came up to the lighthouse...


...and didn't even get past it...turned abruptly and went back down island...



...and yes, they were animated...

...it wasn't until late in the day I learned that whales were inbound, many miles to the west!...I believe the whales already knew, in the morning, that others were coming, so they were just waiting until they arrived...