Tuesday, September 14, 2021

9-14-2021 Unusual Encounter with SRKWs

It was unusual in a few ways. 

Not that they were spread all across Haro Strait.  That has become common. 

But unusual in seeing:  no J Pod whales, 8 K Pod whales, and 5 L Pod whales, when there were actually 60 SRKWs present.

And to go along with that there were many K and L Pod calls and only a few J Pod calls, way in the distance.

The visual and the acoustic helped put it all together.

There was also something that, for this year, was unusual.

With all the information, publications, on-line and TV information about the importance of respecting the whales' space...there was one person, in what looked like a river kayak, who actually left the shoreline and went out and was turning one direction as they saw a whale and then turning to 'follow' it and then turning again another was spotted..

So what's the big deal?

Become an orca for a few minutes here... 

"I use sound, I use my echolocation, I use my communication with other orcas as I navigate my waters.  So when I see a 'log (aka kayak)' on the water I make note of the object.  I now have something to pay attention to.  Usually a 'log' bobs along with the current so it's no big deal.  But when the 'log' keeps changing direction I now have to take time away from my foraging/travel/watching out for my little ones, etc. to make sure that 'log' doesn't get too close.  There isn't any noise from that 'log' but it's not normal for a 'log' to act this way. And it sure gets in the way of my chasing after a meal when I have to pay attention to an 'unreliable' object."

Just because you don't have a motor does not mean you have no impact on the orcas' world.  Staying tight to shore in the kelp, out of the path of the whales, a person still gets to 'be there' with them without disturbing the whales.

In this instance it was sad to see a person on shore encouraging this behavior.  So it opened the door to have conversation about what had occurred.  Hopefully there is greater understanding by one more person. 

Think of the whales first, please.  

This is their home and not ours.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

September Stays Busy with Southern Residents

It has been a very busy several days...

Most important to note is that WDFW has issued another emergency ruling, today Sept 13. This time one that brings hope coupled with concern for the 3, yes, three who are in late-term pregnancy:

Alki J-36, Hy'Shqa J-37, and Shachi J-19.

The whales have had a difficult time over the last several years. Maybe them having spent an unusual amount of time along the outer coast has provided the food, less disturbance and quiet needed during this later portion of their 17 month gestation time. 


J Pod was already here and spending time up near the Fraser River. K Pod and some L Pod whales - Onyx L-87, L-90, the L55s, L86s (including new calf L-125), L72s, and the L47s. K and L pod whales came in on Sept 9th and met up with J Pod and they all went north toward the Fraser River. 

(Not present were the L12s and the L54s, which is not uncommon, as these two groups often travel on their own and sometimes come into the inland waters by themselves, as the L54s had done the last part of August and into September.)

Since I'm far behind in all this...here are a few images from the most recent sighting along the west side which was on August 12...It began at around 6a.m. hearing the whales over the hydrophones and then seeing them which was almost an all day event, a reminder of how it used to be for the whales. Here are just a few images of the morning portion which lasted until at least 11 a.m.

They were spread from in close to far offshore, eventually they all went down island. Some came back up island later in the day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

September - Already Busy with SRKWs

This post includes Sept 5, 6 and a peek at Sept 8.

...they came up in the night (9-6/ 3:30am)...hear some of their vocalizing...

...and then they came up farther...hear some of their exhales...

...and as daylight came on the 6th of Sept. and they went back down island...

...Sept. 7 they were in Puget Sound...

...Sept. 8 they came back up to the west side and spent the day foraging in several locations along the west side. It seemed that the moms and youngsters stayed down island most of the day and did come up island but not sure how far upisland they got to. Some others passed the lighthouse only to turn and slowly work, a flood tide, back down island.

Down island a ways is where I saw the moms and calves...the water was much choppier and the whales were not in close...but I did see Phoenix J-57, Crescent J-58, and Tofino J-56-the the young one who caused WDFW to issue an emergency ruling to help the whales have more quiet time away from the noise. I'll wait for the drone researhers for information about Tofino.  In the meantime...do all you can do for their ecosystem, because that is the SRKWs' home. 

What I saw on Sept 6 and again on Sept 8, needs a great big Thank You to WDFW on scene and SoundWatch on scene all day redirecting boaters to move offshore or stop and 'stay put' or whatever it is they do, because it was effective! July 6th was a very busy day, today July 8th was not as busy but they were there to see to it that boaters followed the 'rules' and the whales' space was protected.   

On Sept 8th I was glad to see Tofino and her mom near the other moms and youngsters...was surprsied to get a few images...this is just the first in the sequence as Tofino was surfacing tight to her mom's side.

..The whales were spread out and foraged pretty much all day on the 8th. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

8-25-2021 L54s and L-88 Surprised Everyone

 This post includes 8-25 and 8-30



They went down island...but a few hours later they came up island.  They could be seen off the web cam at the lighthouse going north.  

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

8-24-2021 Catch-Play-Eat Salmon

 These first three images are from years past (of course).

Right-to-left as the bald eagle comes in for food...scouping the prey into his/her talons. It didn't seem like much of a meal; the eagle was so far away it was difficult to tell.  But the eagle knewn and that's what mattered.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

8-21-2021 SRKWs - Perhaps Their Perspective

Might this be the SRKWs' perspective?

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

8-11-2021 We Wait and Watch


5pm on August 10th was the last moment of over 30 years of Dr. Bob Otis' studies from Lime Kiln lighthouse.  What a wealth of information he has accumulated...so far...

One piece of information that is easily seen, is on the board inside the lighthouse.  The lighthouse doesn't have to be open, just look in the window and also read the explanation which is posted on the door (new one will be posted in the next couple days).

We don't know what is to come, so we wait and watch.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

8-4-2021 Cappuccino K-21

 post date: August 4

It came as a shock to all. To see the images of Cappuccino in his last moments of life broke hearts of many humans.  What about the whales?  They know they must continue on. Opus K-16 and Sonata K-35 are who he traveled with for the the last several years. 

Looking back at audio and video and images here are a few memories of Cappuccino.  His presence will be greatly missed by his pod and their community as well as the humans who have at the opportunities to have their own cherished memories of him. 

The following all occurred on the same day a few years ago.


Here's what 'they said'...

a few hours later...here's what they looked like...you have to 'wait for it'...

Most often when a whale in this community has died the only determination is that they are not seen with any other community members of any of J, K, of L pods.  The Center for Whale Research makes the determination when enough time has gone by to conclude the animal is presumed to have died.
This time it's different.
Cappuccino was seen.
Horrible? Yes.
A call to action. 
Action that will make a difference.
Everything you do has an impact.
On what? THE PLANET.
Are your actions restorative? 
Are they destructive?

The cause of Cappuccino's death might not ever be known.
Age?  Not necessarily.  A nice scape-goat.
Starvation? Possible
Toxins?  released due to starvation, possible.
One leads to the other.

Will the humans ever get it right?
 Cappuccino, I hope so but I'm afraid they won't.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021


Received from: Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative

Video:   Tahlequah's Story of Grief and Hope.  

So very well worth watching and understanding her plight.


Also a posting from Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans, Canada that researchers saw some SRKWs near Swiftsure Bank area, which includes a ship slowdown area. 

News article link. (hope it's okay to post a link here)

Months-old orca calf spotted off Vancouver Island, confirmed to be female | CTV News

But if the link didn't work...here's some brief info. The image posted is of Element L-125 whose sex was not known until that photo.  A female!  She sure looked energetic! L Pod often travels in three different groups.  The group that 'Elee' (for short) and her mother, Surprise! L-86, travel with consist of about 18 orcas. 

She was seen near the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in an area near an Interim Sanctuary Zone (it is an area of reduced noise and physical disturbance from vessels in key whale foraging areas). 

In recent years the SRKWs have spent an increased amount of time out there and less in the inland waters around the San Juan Islands.          Seems like that's where the salmon are...

...which takes me back to Tahlequah's Story of Grief and Hope - It's about the salmon and the dams. On Southern Resident Killer Whale Salmon Initiative's website read about why it matters.

Then consider taking action.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

7-20-2021 Words from 2018 Still Need Repeating Today

Looking for something on my blog today (July 2021) the first post I opened was from 12-31-2018. It still applies today.

Hold those moments in your heart.

 Be different by making a difference.
  Hold all the oceans and the land in high regard, 
       in everything you do.
   Too many do not. 
    Consider your actions - are they good or not good.
     Each day decide to take an action to help this ailing earth.
      What you do, others will repeat.
       Take your worry, sadness, fears - change them around.
        Turn worry into action for good.
         Turn sadness into smiles for others.
          Turn fear into challenge to make a difference.

Make a difference:
for the whales;
for the salmon;
for the herring;
for the birds;
for the trees;
add to the list...

Now let's make 2019 a year of positive energy and positive change for the good of all beings and especially the Southern Residents.
After all, they are the ones who drew us in, in the first place.
It's time to give back to them, so they will be here for future generations, theirs and ours.

It seems that we haven't done enough, since it is now 2021 and the salmon are little to none and the Southern Residents are out in the open ocean hopefully finding food somewhere.  If they come in to these waters and if there are no salmon ahead of them, that is a terrible sign.  Why? Because it means their food became scarce out in the open ocean.  

So if it means we don't see them then maybe it means they are finding food elsewhere and maybe they are having quieter seas and less human interruptions to deal with.  All guesses on my part.  The whales know that they want to survive and will do all they can for each other.

It would be nice if the humans could learn to be that way with other humans.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

6-19-2021 Orcas and Birds

 June 19th

The unusualness of this year has continued. Not having posted in a month is a clue...However, over this last month I have watched the complete cycle of the Junco baby birds and mom now having built another nest, I may just get to watch it all again.  However, I hope this next month to be watching the Southern Residents.

During this month there have been many transient orcas in the area. 

There have been no SRKWs in the inland waters.  Is that why the Ts seem to be so 'relaxed'?  In the past they would more often move through at a steady pace.  Not this year. The Ts are free to roam wherever they want without any interruptions.   

During many encounters from shore along the west side, in the past, Ts were heading up island not far from shore and at the same time SRKWs were coming down island, but they were not within hearing range.  The SRKWs continued along their same path. Then almost immediately after hearing the first SRKW vocal over the hydrophones we watched as the Ts made an abrupt turn and headed very quickly in the opposite direction! Pretty amazing.

A few images from this past month.  A lot of the days the Ts were close to the U.S. / Canadian border - a good distance out there.

...then I got sidetracked with the Juncos
...one of the Junco fledglings
...the two fledglings and mom or dad
...Cattle Pass in San Juan Channel
...Eba the whale poo sniffing dog and her 'people' at work!
...the same group from Cattle Pass, plus two additional family members passing the Lime Kiln lighthouse several hours later...
...and don't forget to look up! Sometimes that's the only orca to be seen.
...later...Soundwatch heading home, after a long day on the water.
...salmon cloud.  It looked like a salmon carcass. It got my attention because the salmon are in dire need of help. Then someone else said it made them think the salmon would be back soon, meaning the whales would be behind them. 
Speaking of the lack of the SRKWs, who used to return in April or May,  but last year J Pod didn't show up until July 1...will that be the case this year...I guess we will soon find out.
They need salmon and as long as the salmon are not here it is unlikely the whales will be.  It is also an indicator they are likely finding salmon on the outer coast - somewhere.  Let's hope.  
And the Transients and them eating their way up Haro Strait (and everywhere else) is it their way of helping to balance out the food situation?

...and then baby deer started showing up - distraction! and hummers began showing up at the flowers - another distraction! 

...have a great day...go explore and see what you might see!