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Friday, November 25, 2016

11-25-16 A Day Full of Orcas

Friday, November 25th
...a break in the storms today, so off to the lighthouse on what was finally a non-windy, non-rainy day...
...get there, set up, turn on the hydrophones and within a few minutes there were sounds coming over the hydrophones...but they were masked by ship noise and they were also very distant...finally a clear J Pod call...a while later a louder, clear K Pod call...
...and it was time to watch and wait...they were coming down from the north...very curious...had they come in and gone up undetected?...or had they circumnavigated Vancouver Island over the last nine days?

...the whales were spread for miles across Haro Strait and from the leaders to the trailers...
...the first whale passing Lime Kiln lighthouse at about 2:15 was Cali K-34...and not far behind him were some other members of his family group, the K13s...
...a few of the K12s - Tika K-33, with his prominent dorsal fin, and his mother, Sekiu K-22 were not far behind...
...none were close but the distant landscape was phenomenal...here's Comet K-38 with the Elwha Valley in the distance...
...Comet and his mother, Spock K-20 had been traveling down island together...then he moved offshore and she continued going down island...each ended up with some pretty spectacular backdrops...
...here's Spock...
...when the J16s came down they were the last group...Mike J-26 was foraging...a bit closer was his mother, Slick J-16, and little sister, Scarlet J-50,...another sister, Echo J-42, was in the vicinity but not surfacing with her mother and sister...after watching them for a few minutes Scarlet was no longer surfacing with mom and it got a bit curious as to where she was...
...Slick continued on traveling with no one else surfacing by her...then a few minutes later Echo J-42 and Scarlet J-50 were surfacing together!
...I love it...mom handed the 'baby' (she's almost 2 years old) off to Echo J-42, who, by the way, has always seemed to 'love the little ones'...

...when Mike began moving down island, his other sister, Alki J-36 and her offspring, Sonic J-52 were traveling in close proximity...Sonic was tight to his mother's side...


...being spread out as they were is an indicator of a lack of salmon and a need to search for salmon as they travel...

...one thing I have noted the last two times prior to when the whales showed up - today and in mid November when they came in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and went down into Puget Sound:
...the Center for Whale Research was on scene today so their encounter post will have all who were seen today...
...for all who saw J and K pod whales on this November 25th day, consider yourself very fortunate...it is not common to see the whales passing by along the west side very often during this time of year...

 

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