Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Observations after the Boat Sinking

-boat sank 8/13/22 in mid afternoon

-SRKWs were on their way inbound and did not reach the west side of the island until about 20:30. Images were taken from Pile Pt. with a statement that the whales appeared to be heading down island and offshore.

-the next day the whales were seen in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Coho ferry between Pt. Angeles to Victoria. Three researchers were on the Coho and ID'd the whales and stated that most all but the L54s were present.  K-44 and L-89 – each had not been seen in many months, so unrelated to this event.

7 days later, 8-20, seen in the morning off Hannah Heights, heading north, close to shore were two humpback whales. By the time they were approaching County Park they were very far offshore, could barely see the HBs except for the prominent exhale (blow).  Looking from shore at County Park the HBs had not quite reached the middle of the parallel to the County Park lawn viewing area when the HBs turned and headed farther to the west. 

A few hours later Ts were seen off Discovery Island coming into Haro Strait. Many boats were with them as they traveled in CA waters and were far from shore.  They came into U.S. waters north toward Lime Kiln and then turned to going down island when they were just south of Lime Kiln area. 

Transients and humpbacks are unpredictable, though HBs more often continue on their direction, eventually.

Transients are the least predictable. 

Southern Residents are the most predictable, though in this case it was a surprise that they headed back out to sea in the middle of the night (based on where they were seen the next morning) when more often they would stay off the south end of SJI and head north up Haro in the middle of the night or early the next morning. If that had been the case, they would have passed through the oil spill area.  Sometimes, in the past, they have done this travel, with no sounds of their presence over the Lime Kiln hydrophones.

This time they were not heard because they had left Haro Strait and were heading back out to sea.

Any relationship to anything?

I don’t know. However, I find the SRKWs behavior of leaving so soon, after just arriving, to be unusual.
As of August 23, morning, they remain far to the west or out to sea.

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