Saturday, August 27, 2022

8-27-2022 Looking for Seals, eh?

 It has been 14 days since the SRKWs were seen in Haro Strait.

The boat that sank is due to be brought up tomorrow (8-28).  You can see US Coast Guard Pacific Northwest for updates as to the status.

The other preparations that are occurring are the team consisting of U.S. and Canada people in official capacity, The Whale Museum - Soundwatch, San Juan County Marine Stranding Network, Wild Orca, Dept of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada), US Coast Guard, and others (apologies for anyone I left out).

Had you been a pleasure boater or just casually scanning into the distance you might have thought these were a bunch of fishing boats or a boat group having a party.

However, they were together to practice various postures they might need to take to deter oncoming SRKWs who were heading into an oil spill.  I could see them from a great distance and couldn't figure out what they were doing until there was a report about what they were doing.

Some people have expressed concern.  I got to where I just had to reply and here is my reply.  

"Some have had a difficult time with the idea of noise to deter the SRKWs. So I wrote a reply. I wanted it to be displayed on my FB page directly and not just as a comment: Here is what I wrote:
I understand concerns expressed here. Several years ago I watched from shore as the whales were coming up island, their path of travel was aiming right at a seiner with their nets out. When they saw the whales approaching they started banging on the side of boat and did not stop until the whales turned and went back down island. As the whales came up, they slowed, paused and turned back.
The seiner finished their work and a while later the whales came back up island as if nothing had occurred.
In the case of an oil spill I would prefer the whales turn away from potential life threatening danger than to watch no attempt be made to save these whales from inhaling toxins.
Please remember the whales pass on information to one another and generation to generation and surely Granny J2 taught them well. Remember all they have gone through and they continue to press onward because they have learned and remember.
It pains me to think that some people would prefer nothing be done to help save the SRKWs."

I do my best to allow people to have their own opinion, but when it comes to doubting what others are doing to help save the whales is not helpful.  

So today Saturday 8-27, I get a call that whales are moving up island and are very close to shore. Oh, no!!  I got to Lime Kiln asap and ran down to the lighthouse.  Ten seconds later I heard a blow and it was loud. and oh my, goodness, right along the shore!

Below image is zoomed in version of the above image.  He was in the kelp.  I bet he was looking for harbor seals.

There were two.

They are Transients.

They were there at 7:26 a.m.

They dove just before the lighthouse and poof!  they disappeared!

Later I learned from a friend who was staying at County Park that they came inside Low Island. They must have been looking for seals. they went north...good time to run errands in town.

....oops! they had gone up island likely up around Henry and then came back down through Mosquito Pass. There were 2 whales and at least 11 boats.  Well, I saw the boats sooner than the whales...and it seemed the whales had fooled the boats because some of the boats headed offshore as if they had spotted them...when all of a sudden there was one 'at my feet' - momentary and amazing!

The whales continued on their line...this taken from County Park. 

It might be difficult to see the whales in this image but on the left side is the point at the south end of County Park and they were steadily going down island...hurry to the park!

And another point of land but this time it's on the opposite side. Looking up island from Lime Kiln lighthouse and it's not easy to spot just two whales in not very calm water.  But...

...and then - right along the shore - again!

...and again, surfacing with kelp on his dorsal fin, in the same spot he had it on his dorsal fin in the morning.

Still looking for seals, eh.

...There haven't been as many seals along Lime Kiln as in previous years.  I wonder if the Ts are making a dent in the seal population here. 

...They continued down island but more offshore and last I saw one through the binoculars he was heading west.


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