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Sunday, March 20, 2016

3-20-16 J Pod Came Down and Almost Went Out

over the last few days...
the eagle activity has been abundant...
the gull activity has all of a sudden burst into wildness...
...large herring masses have been moving through...
...maybe that's why J Pod was still north...

...Saturday, March 19...
...the size of the herring we saw while out with Capt. Jim and Jeff on Peregrine yesterday, was striking...so huge...I had to ask 'my fish guy' for the scoop - red herring and they are the largest and normal for this time of year...their scales come off easily and as we were watching the mass of herring pass by deep in the water column, above were fish scales gleaming and glistening in the water...amazing...

...the gulls and the eagles were after the herring - yes the eagles...they have been going after the herring for days now too...

...Sunday, March 20th...
...so when J pod showed up today, coming down from the north...and after watching how slowly they were moving...I commented to Capt. Jim that they might turn around and go back north...
...there's just too much fish moving in and going north...there has to be some salmon in there somewhere...

...so here's the day...
...about 10:20 this morning I hear something unusual...it didn't sound like killer whale calls but I decided to go check it out anyway...off to the park for a look see...and before I get there I learn that J pod calls are coming over the Orca Sound hydrophones...(later when I checked the recording the calls started four minutes after I had left the house)...
...it was drizzling...no calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophones, just yet...then just one call!...there were some gulls and then a bald eagle flew down and just under it was the dorsal fin of an orca...soon she came into better view, but was still distant...it was Slick J-16...
...I didn't hear any more calls over the hydrophones but one call on my cell phone and I was off to the boat...
...out with Capt. Jim on Imagine and who do we see first?...Slick J-16 and with her is Scarlet J-50...Echo J-42 was a ways behind them and way up ahead was Mike J-26, foraging, tail lobbing, and who knows what else...

...there were whales in the distance ahead of us...it was Granny J-2 and Onyx L-87...
...some of the time they surfaced together...reminded me of how Granny and Ruffles J-1 used to...
...as we moved back toward the whales we had left, the majority of J Pod was coming down...they got together...and pretty soon we hear that Granny and Onyx, who had been in the lead heading down and out, had turned and were coming back in...it appeared they had to come back to round up the rest of the pod and tell them: "this is the way we are going, now follow us!" or something like that...when Granny and Onyx got to about 1/2 mile from everyone else they then turned and headed back in the direction they had been previously going, only this time it looked like the others were following...





...as we left the scene...one last parting shot...
...back on shore and three hours later, I happen to look out and see a couple boats...jump into the car and down the road to check it out...
...the whales are coming back in...far from shore, they could only be seen with binoculars...
...I watched for as long as I could...seas got choppy - lots of white caps and the birds, including eagles, were again all over going after more herring, I presume...ah! more salmon coming in too???

...then comes tomorrow and we may or may not know where the whales are...but they know where they are and where the food is, and it seems that just maybe, for a few days or more (hoping this is just the start of something good for the whales), they are getting lots of salmon...
...at 8:30 pm they were last heard over the Orca Sound hydrophones...  
...I think they have gone north, but they've been quiet a lot today, so one just never knows for sure until we see or hear them the next time.

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