Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Saturday, May 13, 2017

5-13-17 It's the Whales' Story Not Ours

Saturday, May 13th
...in town giving a talk on IDing whales caused me to miss seeing them as they came down from the north...I know what they look like so I could live with that...however...I didn't want to miss pieces of their story...
...thanks to some others who posted that Shachi J-19 was in the lead as some of J Pod passed by close along the west side...I understand that others were spread across Haro Strait...
...getting to the west side as fast as I could...here's my take on what that might look like... :)
...the whales had gotten into what appeared to be a resting group...that resting line wasn't going in any direction, so I waited...and waited...the whales were near the bottom of Discovery Island and still in Haro Strait and were probably 4 miles or more from shore - difficult to tell from where I was except that they were the tiniest of killer whale dots...
...most people wouldn't stay and watch - too far - but there was a fella there watching and he was intent on watching...I liked him right away!
...I remember I had seen him and his wife the day before when the Transients went by...the are from Italy and had come to the U.S. on a trip and part of that trip to was come here to see what 'it was all about'...
...the day before they got a nice close look at the T101s...and today they got a different look and a much longer one...yesterday about 20 minutes and today about 5 hours (no joke!)
...after a good long while some whales ...looked to be heading north, up Haro Strait, but the majority of them appeared to still be grouped up...it was more that I could see so many blows at that distance, and of course the whales in basically the same location...
...that smaller group...they went up...no, now they were heading back toward the group...no, now they were heading up...and that continued on...I would guess they were foraging but I really don't know...
...so we watched and watched...a few of this 'moving about group' got up close to Baynes Channel entrance...
...glad to have my binos on monopod cause I could not have held them up for that long otherwise :)
...so he and his wife were scanning where one whale was, I was scanning where the other was farther north...crazy and totally fun...what else is better to do on a sunny, but cold, day!
..."WOW!" came out of my mouth as a male (it was either Onyx L-87 or Mike J-26 - couldn't tell from that far away)...surfaced 'in my binocs' clearly!! and he wasn't even a tiny killer whale dot!...but that was looking through the 'big eyes'...
...eventually I went home (about 5:30) and heard the whales on the Lime Kiln hydrophones - in the distance - and then when one call got louder (someone was likely just facing in the direction of the HPs) I couldn't stand it and went back down, just to make sure I wasn't going to miss them because I had gotten cold...
...I didn't and they went west...



A piece of their story...they know we don't... ...There is a TREND occurring, but will it continue?...we won't know for a while...
...the Trend (only in relationship to them passing along at/near the lighthouse) is Shachi J-19 is in the lead...today would count as the fourth or fifth time now.
...we'll just keep watching this unfold...

...now it's time for a big shout-out (if that's what it's called) to all the researchers who were involved in the 'before all this technology' studies of these whales.
...they didn't have cell phones, digital cameras, text messaging, a huge network of whale watching people, streaming hydrophones, etc....and they too watched the whales reveal themselves as to who they are and what they are all about...

...as I have mentioned before we are in the beginning of a new era and it is exciting (to me) to be able to watch as the whales reveal their adjustments after so much loss in recent years...
...let's just hope that a piece of that is seeing the whales getting fat and healthy.

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