Tuesday, July 31st
All of J Pod took all day, yesterday, to get from the Strait of Georgia to Haro Strait...being heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones at about 1:00 a.m. This morning the seas were choppy, the wind was strong...and where the whales were remained unknown until late in the morning.
They made their way up island, the leading group, by about 5pm...the seas were still choppy and the wind wasn't as strong, but the sun glare was providing for many back lit images. They were spread out,
moving quickly with the current, the and lighthouse was in my way...so I
ran from one side to the other to get pictures...I would look later to
verify just who was in my images, but for those moments it was to get
them on the camera. Tahlequah J-35 had not been seen yet, so that was the 'mission' to get her in an image...mission accomplished.
The L12s were evidently here...but one of the first whales to go by was Kasatka L-82 and that was a surprise!
...similar but different...
Seeing Kasatka meant that the L55s were here, at least, and they travel with the Ballena L-90, the last surviving member of the L26s. Also should be Surprise! L-86 and her offspring, the L47s - Marina L-47 and her family members, the L72s - Racer L-72 and her offspring Fluke L-105. Many of those showed up on the backlit images. July 31st is the ONLY day L Pod whales have been in Haro Strait in the month of July. Glad they are here.
The whales were mixed, Js and Ls, some in very close to the shore. Dr. Otis' two interns, Amanda and Sarah, had the opportunity, since it was past the documenting hours (daily 9-5), to get all the way down on the rocks with the hope that some of the whales would come in close...the smiles on their faces gave the answer to that!
There were other whales still down island, and since the L12s had not passed by that must be them...and who was with them, but Onyx L-87! Now that was interesting. Onyx (see his story- link on the right column) has traveled with K Pod and then J Pod exclusively since 2006. When J Pod and the L12s are together, Onyx will spend time with his family unit, the L12s but when the L12s turn and go back down island (that is what they usually do), he will continue up island to get back with J Pod. But this time??? The others were a couple hours ahead of this group...
...it was interesting to see Onyx L-87 with the L12s, with them being so far behind the others. Interesting to note that over the last year, Onyx has spent a great deal of time with Tahlequah's family.
At 9:15pm calls were heard over the Lime Kiln hydrophones...okay, so the L12s are coming back down. But since I wasn't there I could not confirm...that is until I get a message from a friend who was at the lighthouse and who knows what Mega L-41 looks like..."Mega just went by!" was the exclamation!!
So as the day came to a close, J Pod was north, Tahlequah was still carrying her calf, at least some of the L12s had changed direction and went down island.
In addition to the many questions regarding Tahlequah, a new question has been added regarding Onyx. Who will he be with next?
The concern for Scarlet J-50 continues. With the backlit issues today, it was tough just getting images and tougher figuring out who is who...but here's Scarlet with her big brother Mike J-26.
...I want to add here that it is with gratitude to the US enforcement boats, who I believe have gotten more funding from WA state for more hours on the water this season...this was before the troubles with Scarlet and with Tahlequah arose...the coordinating efforts of Soundwatch (on the water boater education of The Whale Museum), using the Whale Warning Flag at the lighthouse when whales are in the area, the enforcement boats, The Center for Whale Research, DFO (Canada Dept of Fisheries and Oceans), the PWWA captains all cooperating in the areas around the J16s and J17s and all the SRKWs, as they go through this difficult time...
...so in the efforts to get the Snake River dams removed...how about a shout-out to WA state for what is going on already...more enforcement boats, culverts being replaced to unblock fish passage...hopefully no more video of fish crossing a road with the culverts backed up...bulkheads along shorelines being removed to reestablish a natural shoreline, things of that nature are occurring...so there is good going on - Whitney and Whale Scouts, Laurie has her 'own' stream...all restoration work for helping to improve the environment for salmon to recover...
I'm sure there's more going on...but those are a few...