Tuesday, June 7, 2016

6-7-16 The Location Can Be the Best Part

June 7th - 2nd post of the day

...this encounter that occurred on the same day and the previous post had to have a post of it's own...
...it was quite incredible...mainly because of location, location, location

...back to the harbor to gather up passengers for a late afternoon trip...we switch boats to Imagine and off we go...we knew we had a ways to go...leaving the harbor the boat does not power up until a certain point - the entrance - and just as Capt. Spencer started to, Capt. Jeff said, "there's a dorsal fin right here!"
I heard that and grabbed my camera...T49C was at the entrance...he was meandering around, turned and continued toward Kellett Bluff and then he was down for a long time...I spotted him just entering Mesquito Pass - oh my wow!...he was taking long dives and he had many options as to where he would to go, so we slowly made our way and waited...

...another "oh, my!" he had entered the entrance to where Westcott Bay and Garrison Bay are located...this is the second time in a couple weeks that whales have been seen in this place...we slowly entered...he surfaced and continued to move in toward Westcott Bay...he passed the entrance to Garrison Bay and so did we...he was getting closer to Westcott Bay and then crossed over to the north side and slowly began coming back out...after practically 'saying hello' to us the next time we saw him he had exited and was in Mesquito Pass heading up farther into the pass toward Roche Harbor...you should have heard us...we were planning our pictures with the church at Roche Harbor as the backdrop...too funny...next time surfaced he was heading back down and exited Mesquito Pass where he had entered and took a harbor seal...

...here it the encounter in images:

...sometimes it's not about what they are doing but where they are going.

This was transient T49C.  He is NOT part of the Southern Resident Community of salmon eating orcas.  He belongs to the regional community of Transient killer whales (aka Bigg's) who eat harbor seals, sea lions, and porpoise.  Their community structure is different from the Southern Resident's. Some transient males leave mom and become bachelors.  That is what T49C has done.  

When you watch the Southern Residents there should be more than one lone animal present.  When watching the Southern Residents where they go is IMPORTANT because it tells a lot about what is going on for them - ie. lots of food or not lots of food.

Their food is salmon, mainly Chinook salmon, and they need lots of it to survive now and into the future.  Their future depends on it.

Click on the links on the upper left hand column to read about the Elwha Dam removal - the largest dam removal in the history of the United States.  Read about how the Elwha River has recovered and recovered so fast.  
Read about the Columbia River system and the plight of the salmon.  Once one of the greatest river systems in the Pacific Northwest for salmon it is now producing less than 10% of what it historically did.  

Why the push for the 4 Lower Snake River Dams to be removed?  Because not only are the wild salmon in peril but K and L pods of the Southern Resident Community are known to feed off the Columbia in the winter and spring.
Link to SRKW-CSI and read much more about it.  And if you like what you read, please take action to help this endangered community of orcas. 

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