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Saturday, January 2, 2016

1-2-16 They Came From the North

Saturday, January 2nd
...prior to today, as far as I know, J Pod was last seen December 22nd, inbound in the Strait of Juan de Fuca...they must have turned and gone out that same day because today - 11 days later - they show up coming down from the north! (They do that in the winter from time to time.)

...when I first heard calls it was over the Lime Kiln hydrophones and then I turned up the speaker on the Orca Sound hydrophones and they were quite loud!
...I bolted out the door and got to the park as quickly as possible..the roads were still a bit icy, so...
...it took a while to locate where the whales were in Haro Strait...knew they were coming down, I knew J Pod whales at least, but where were they?
...then a blow near that ship...one clearly on the left and one on the right...
...the first whale I saw through the binos was Granny J-2...sweet...
...they kept coming down, but there weren't very many...hummm...
...as they got closer there were two at the surface...
...this is Yoda K-36...
...see the fish?! I almost missed it...this is Lea K-14...

...there was one other whale with them and when that whale surfaced it was Granny J-2...not far behind them was Lobo K-26...

...about 15 minutes later came Shachi J-19, mother of Eclipse J-41 and grandmother of Nova J-51...
...Nova was having an active time...

...there was a long span of time, no whales to be seen, but every once in a while some could be heard, faintly, over the hydrophones...once again it was, "where are they?"... some still coming down...
...Slick J-16 and her youngest Scarlet J-50...
...not far from them were Slick's oldest female offspring, Alki J-36 and her baby Sonic J-52...he is about three months younger than Scarlet...

...there were a couple whales very far off shore...difficult to get positive ID images, but from the size/shape of the dorsal fins, it could have been Slick's other two, Mike J-26 and Echo J-42, but I couldn't be certain...

...then ten minutes later another mother and calf came along...who is this?

...it's Princess Angeline J-17 and her newest, J-53!
...off shore from them was Moby J-44...

...the rest of J Pod, I imagine was out there, spread far and wide...the Center for Whale Research was on scene so watch for their Encounter post from today to learn more...

...though the whales have been in split groupings a good portion of the time since 2010 - Group A and Group B  (see the side bar on the right for who is in which group) - today there were some members of both Group A and Group B, though I only saw 3 members of Group B - that would be Princess Angeline, Moby, and J-53...and those are only 3 members of her (J-17's) family that now consists of 8 whales!

...and my 'apologies' to the K14s...oh, how quickly in my mind I had you back with the rest of K Pod and not traveling with Granny's Group (Group A) - oops!
When J Pod came up the west side on December 16, it was only J Pod, no K Pod whales were present. 
They have been traveling with Granny's Group pretty much of the time since 2013...but it seemed that in the winter they had gone back to being with K Pod.
We shall see what they do next.

It's not uncommon to have J Pod come through here in the winter...it's more uncommon for them to do that in the middle of the day, on a nice sunny day, with pretty calm seas, even if it was cold!

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