Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Sunday, June 25, 2017

6-25-17 J Pod and Others All Day Long -Part 1

Sunday, June 25th - Part 1
...J Pod came down from Tofino...one very faint K Pod call over the Lime Kiln hydrophones in the night had me out the door really, really early...I picked up the whales down island near Salmon Bank...and if you don't know, that is significant because it isn't named Salmon Bank for no reason :)

...I immediately let the Center for Whale Research know and in a while they were on their way...and so were the whales - coming up island...

...the last time J Pod and Onyx had been seen was June 1st...gone out to sea for three weeks just a few days shorter than their last long absence...



...eventually all J Pod, Onyx L-87, and the four K14s came by!  Haven't seen any of the K14s since last October, though K Pod was here in early March...
...they continued up island and so did I...
...it looks like summer is here...lots of behaviors out there from boats and from whales...some of the water craft shifted my focus for a while...


...the whales continued up but it just didn't seem like they were committed to go north...a while later they turned and came back down island...





...the majority of the whales were coming along but were farther offshore...so off to Lime Kiln again...
...knowing the rest of the 'kelp' group was coming and the rest of the 29 whales were on their way...well that's part two...
here's a teaser for that...
...doesn't get much better than that...that is until you realized that not only are they coming back down...you find out later that...part 2...



Saturday, June 24, 2017

6-24-17 Greetings From J Pod




...thanks to one or more of the whale watching companies in Tofino...J Pod was encountered twice in the last week!


Saturday, June 17, 2017

6-17-17 L Pod Whales On the West Side

Saturday, June 17th

...after seeing the Transients in San Juan Channel while on the Western Prince, we headed over to the L Pod whales who just 'showed up' on the west side...
...this is the first time since last October that some of them have been this far in...I took a few images before getting some video...





...here's a brief clip with the hydrophones...they were quite vocal...
video
...then on the way back...
Thanks Capt. Dennis and the Western Prince!
 

6-17-17 Transients and Residents Today

Saturday, June 17th - the transients...






...here is a short clip of what they did during that encounter...
...
video
...while watching the transients we learn of Residents, L Pod, on the west side and they were coming down island...we headed that way...
...more on that encounter later...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

6-13-17 More of the L12 Group Encounter

See prior post for video clip from the morning.

It was a full day of watching the L12s...from about 11:30 until 7pm along the west side.
...at first they were moving slowly up island, against an on-coming current, sometimes they were resting, would then split up and forage and then begin to move up again...however, they did not appear to be 'fighting' the current but rather doing what they have done for many years...just not go very far...

...they made it to Lime Kiln around 4pm...





...they continued slowly up passing the lighthouse...however, Spirit L-22 and Solstice L-89 were not with the rest of the L12s...
...and then Cousteau L-113 came back down...
video

...


...this was the first time the L12s were seen since October 28, 2016...

6-13-17 The L12s Took Up Where They Left Off

Tuesday, June 13th

...the L12s are an interesting group...of course they all are...but this group is rather independent and 'travel to their own drummer' so to speak...
...they had come in yesterday and stayed down island...late this morning they began what might be the longest time taken to travel just 2 miles!...that's the L12s...
...here's a clip of them moving at their fastest today :)...
video





...at the end of the day as we were watching them going down island a humpback surfaced coming north...about 20 minutes later a humpback surfaced going south...I couldn't confirm 1 or 2 until I looked at images...it was actually 2 humpbacks...will post those images too...

...I did see some foraging at different times throughout the day and also a lot of resting...
...moving up island against an outgoing current...then later moving down island against an in coming current...maybe they are finding it easier to have the salmon come to them :) 

...after watching them for almost 6 hours today, no time left to post more tonight...they did some interesting and one unexpected action today...to follow in the next post...

Monday, June 12, 2017

6-12-17 The T002Cs - An Extraordinary Look

Monday, June 12th

The T002Cs gave us an extraordinary look into their lives, which are very different than 99% of other killer whale families.
This family has a member, T002C2, who has scoliosis of the spine (information from Center for Whale Research folks). 
This extraordinary look is about how they, as a family, take care of T002C2, how they use the currents to help them get from one location to another.
Why?  Over many days of observations by many people, T002C2 was unable to keep up.  He also did not participate in any 'hunts or kills'...he is not able.
Family members secured the food and then shared it with him.  I had seen this same behavior in 2016, but in 2016 they didn't stay around for the length of time like they did this week.

They used the currents to take them where they wanted to go.  For example, they were traveling down San Juan Channel, and as they had each day, they were moving slowly...I was waiting at Cattle Pass, at the south end of the channel, the tide was about to change to a flood and they would then be going against it.  As soon as it began to change so did the whales...they turned and went back north.  

On the day they came up the west side the tide was ebbing and they were using the back eddies, hugging the shoreline...when the passed Kellett Bluff they lost the back eddy and changed direction, moving south and west across Haro Strait and eventually got into some of the Canadian Gulf Islands which then took them northwest...soon the tide changed to a flood and they continued to move north...

Here's a map of where they traveled around here.  They were last seen heading toward Active Pass going with a flooding current.  Perhaps they continued back to the upper regions of the Inside Passage where they seem to be most often.  But for now, that was the last time this family was seen.  Credit for the locations goes to the many whales watch operators who shared their locations - thanks!
...images of T002C2 that show how curved the spine is on this whale.
...if anyone thinks that any killer whale groups they see are 'just a bunch of whales traveling around'...well, they might want to think again...
...they are much more than that:
-caring
-helping
-looking out for one another
-bonded
-and much more...
 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6-6-17 A Day of the T65As

Tuesday, June 6th
...J Pod has not been seen since June 1st...
...Transients have been around...mostly up toward East Pt, etc. but not along the west side...
...the T65As were in Rosario Stait a few days ago, then up by East Pt. yesterday...on Monday, friends who were visiting and hoping to see the whales commented that maybe the T65As would make their way down along the west side...
..."hire that lady" - she was right!   The T65As were spotted late morning a few miles north of Lime Kiln...they slowly made their way down island...

...and it was on to the next spot...hope my friends got the message...
...the whales took so long to get to the park, my friends, whose last day on-island it was, made it in plenty of time...to spend hours of watching this group in front of the lighthouse for hours! We just moved from one picnic table to another - perfect -- whales in front of us the whole time :)


...the other present was T65A4 and is one of those active playful orcas. 

...there was a strong current running up island and the whales were going down island, which was so interesting...they would make progress of a few hundred yards surfacing several times, then dive for maybe five minutes...their next surfacing they were behind where they had been...at this point, after all that play, (and I think they had made a quick kill (lunch) before the play began)...they were now in a resting pattern...
...they have nowhere they have to be so they didn't care which way the tide was going...
...by about 5pm the whales had exited the park, still in a resting mode...I went to Land Bank and got a few moments of them...quiet, peaceful, calm waters, and their blows - just makes all you cares and worries go away for the moment...
video


 
 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

6-1-17 J Pod and the Tunnel Effect at the Lighthouse

Thursday, June 1st
...J Pod and Onyx didn't stay up north for very long...today they came back down passing the lighthouse in the middle of the afternoon...

...I had heard they were coming down fast and the ebbing current was bringing them along...a few miles to the north some angled offshore while the others continued down passing the lighthouse...
...in the lead, of the whales who passed by the lighthouse, was Shachi J-19...and behind her were only moms and young kids...
...behind Shachi were Eclipse J-41 and Nova J-51...they gave an example of the 'Tunnel method' they sometimes use...surfacing before reaching the lighthouse and then not again until well past it!

...Princess Angeline J-17 and Kiki J-53 gave a better demonstration...


...offshore from them was Star J-46...Tahlequah J-35 was next and did the same as the others...her offspring, Notch J-47, was a distance offshore from her, traveling parallel...
...there were boats offshore with more than half of the whales...
...next Echo J-42 was about approaching within camera range, when she began to angle offshore...however, her mom, Slick J-16, and little Scarlet J-50 continued on, giving another tunnel demo...
...I think there were 11 whales inshore and the rest of the Js and Onyx over a mile offshore...the inshore whales continued down past Eagle Pt. ...I saw one of them, who was down by Eagle Pt., breach a couple times and a couple blows from others...I also saw three coming back up island at False Bay but then I lost them...
...the offshore whales at one point seemed to be angling back in, but then changed southwest, as best as I could tell...
~~~
Notes:
...the last three times they have come back down there has been a group inshore and a group that was offshore by a couple miles...
...and each of those times they have stalled out and spent at least a couple hours not really going anywhere yet they didn't appear to be doing much if any foraging...
...one time they went back north and twice they went out west - Strait of Juan de Fuca...

...here is what I keep picturing...
...you're doing a great job Shachi!  
...I think that maybe Slick might coaching you too!