Thursday, August 24, 2023

One Day Joy the Next Day Shock & Sadness

August - one day joy and the next shock & sadness.

J Pod & the L12s were last seen in the inland waters on July 4th and last seen heading west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on July 5th. K Pod & the rest of L Pod had not come all the way in to Haro Strait yet this season. Now, 8/17, members of J, K & L pods were incoming!

It was mid-afternoon when they were seen coming up island toward Lime Kiln lighthouse. They didn't just pass by.  Instead for the next few hours there were very many energetic whales. It had been a long time since seeing such a large grouping with lots of behaviors during an extened time, going up-island & a few minutes later the same group going back, wait!...they changed direction again...and again.  At times it was challenging to keep up with all the social and energetic SRKWs. They seemed to be celebrating their return.  They know the Lime Kiln lighthouse area and often come in close to shore, passing through kelp, where salmon will often be. It appeared that a large amount of salmon had come in and most of them eventually followed the salmon north. A few images to show some of what occurred:

While so many people were glad to see the SRKWs back in the inland waters, it wasn't known that Lolita, aka Tokitae, was dying. There was great anticipation that she was coming 'home' to the Pacific Northwest after 53 years in captivity, but for some reason it wasn't to be. It came as a shock to all. There has been anger, sadness, shock, lots of questions as to why? - Why was she doing so well and all of a sudden gone? So many have written many wonderful words honoring Tokitae. 

If each of us are willing to look back... look at what she taught you over many years. There's a saying 'each one teach one'.  Yep, that's what she had done all these years but did we notice?  She is free now and her spirit will carry on and perhaps cause positive changes for those who care to think deeply about what she 'gave each of us' even if you have never been to see her. She will live on in our hearts and perhaps 'ah-ha' moments will cause you to smile because you just realized what she was teaching you. 

Sunday, August 6, 2023

J Pod & L12s and Whale Comics

 August 6, 2023

J Pod and the L12s came inland to Haro Strait at the end of June, as most are already aware.  The L12s have two calves, estimated to be a two to three months old. It was great to see all of J Pod too!  The L12s, as they have historically done, spent their time along the west side of the island and most often off the lower section of it, making it not easy to see them.  But they did come up to Lime Kiln lighthouse a time or two.  When they came in, J Pod continued north and spent time in the Strait of Georgia, as they usually do. On July 4th J Pod came back down, and the L12s were still doing their version of the 'westside shuffle'.  That evening, after dark, calls were heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophones. The next day J Pod and the L12s were seen in the Strait of Juan de Fuca heading west.

From July 5th through July 31st and continuing to August 6th, 6:55pm, (as of this writing) NO Southern Resident Endangered Kille Whales have been seen in these waters.   That is NOT GOOD.

They come here for the salmon and what the whales are telling us is that there are little to no salmon coming in, i.e. enough for them to follow them in. BUT that is only the tip of the iceberg...if you aren't aware of the importance of salmon to this ecosystem - yes, all of it...then you might want to look up -  137 Species Rely On Salmon - you might begin to think a bit differently.

Okay, enough of my rant.

Looking back through some old posts to my blog I realized I had forgotten about the 'Whale Comics' I had created, for a while, of course when all was abundant and appeared to be thriving.  So here are some of the silly text on images from years gone by. They made me smile if only for a short while. Hope they bring a smile to you.  Of course the first of these images is from years ago, but who knows maybe they will surprise us on August 7th - ha-ha!