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Monday, April 25, 2016

4-25-16 It Began With A Roll Call Morning

Monday, April 25th
... (April 20th)-they were gone, it wasn't clear where, did they go back north?...down San Juan Channel or Rosario Strait and out toward the west?...did they go over near the Elwha?...we'll probably never know for sure...
...it had been four days and no sightings of J Pod...
...on the morning of the 5th day (April 25th) they showed back up!...6:15 a.m. I began hearing faint J Pod calls over the Lime Kiln hydrophones (link on the left column)...the calls lasted just a few seconds...

...out the door, down the road, to scan...it took almost an hour to locate the whales...
...I first saw them coming across Haro Strait from Discovery Island...and eventually they went up island...
...by 8:15 a.m. they were passing Lime Kiln lighthouse...
...in the lead was Shachi J-19 and then Eclipse J-41 and her offspring, Nova J-51, who is just over a year old now...


...several days ago it was a 'procession across Boundary Pass'...this morning it was a procession across Haro Strait...

...it was almost like 'roll call' as they passed by, they were spread across Haro Strait in family groupings and with the morning light and the calm seas it made it easier to see who was present...


...Notch J-47 passed the lighthouse behind his mom...
...first off, all the family groups were represented...however, I didn't see Granny J-2 and Onyx L-87 from the park...
...after they passed the park I headed north to the next location where I might see them...

...while I was watching the J16s, I could hear lots of breaths off to the left but out of my view...and then...thank you very much Granny J-2...there she was!  I learned later that Onyx L-87 was present, I just didn't see him...
...the other breaths I was hearing belonged to the J17s, the J14s, and the J22s...
...by this time I had seen all members of J Pod...it was definitely 'A Roll Call Morning'

...for about the next four hours the whales, still spread out across the strait, could be heard over the Orca Sound hydrophones (a different link on the left hand column)...
...when the tide changed they began to move north...

The afternoon: ...out on Peregrine with Jeff at the helm we headed north toward the whales...they were in several groups...Se-Yi-Chn J-45 and Cookie J-38 were seen together...the rest of J-45's family was up ahead but not by far...
...with Cookie and Se-Yi-Chn were DoubleStuf J-34 and Oreo J-22, and with them were the J17s - 3 moms, 3 juveniles, two babies...



...as we moved on up toward Active Pass we passed by the J16s, who also have two whales who are both now a bit over a year old - Scarlet J-50 and Sonic J-52...up ahead of them were Blackberry J-27 and his sister and brother...
...it's not always possible to see them as they go through Active...Active Pass is a beautiful, short pass where the water can be amazingly calm (probably only at slack tide) or it can be like a river and sometimes a raging river...luckily it was rather calm today as we watched them enter the pass...

...they came into the pass in groups...crossed over and traveled up the west side...watching this gives one a glimpse of their navigational skills and how they proceed through this specific place...once in the pass they will often get quite surface active...


(Of course they are excellent navigators or they wouldn't have survived in the oceans for the thousands of years that they have...it's when we get a glimpse into their lives that, to me, is fascinating.)
...
...once they exited the pass their direction was toward the coal docks...
...someone on the boat asked me where they would show up next...that's a good question!

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