On Tuesday, July 15th I headed out to the west side after work, with most of the whales slowly, slowly inbound from south of Discovery Island. I met up with a couple friends of mine, and while we watched Js, Ks, and Ls meander their way across Haro Strait, K16, K35, and K21 - a somewhat rogue group of K-Pod whales - came by heading south to join up with the group. How odd of them to be traveling on their own while everybody else was together!
The big group of whales "hit the island" south of where we were at Land Bank, but as the first few began to round the point heading north, we all agreed we should head to Lime Kiln. Good decision! They angled in towards shore as they passed Land Bank, ending up way inside Deadman's Bay at they approached us at the south end of Lime Kiln Point State Park.
|Whale coming out of Deadman's Bay|
It was "Group A" of J-Pod....sort of. All our old standard groupings are falling by the wayside this summer, as the whales are mixing and matching in all sorts of new combinations. Not that we're complaining! It's just harder to keep track of who is where. In this case, we had J2, the J14s, and the J16s traveling together. (Interesting side notes: Usually J19 and J41 are with this group, but perhaps due to the death last year of J8 - who was the grandmother of J19 as well as a close companion to J2 - the J19s are now going to start traveling with their closest living relatives, the J11s. Also, L87 is usually with J2's group, but seems to be wandering a little further afield lately. On this day, he followed behind this group heading north, by himself, an hour and a half later.)
As the whales approached, they were down on a slightly longer dive, and we all waited with anticipation to see where they would pop up. It ended up being RIGHT in front of me!
I was extremely lucky to have my friend Barbara with a camera behind me. I've often taken, and shared, photos of others and whales, and always hoped one day to get a great shot of me and whales. I've had a few given to me over the years, but this is the kind of shot I was dreaming of! Thank you Barbara!
I'm so low on the rocks it looks like I'm standing on the kelp bed! That's typical me - wanting to get as close to the water as possible when the whales are close. Here's the photo I was taking at the same second the above shot was clicked:
|From back to front: J14 Samish, J2 Granny, and J37 Hy'shqa|
Moments like these are why I go out there as much as I do, but they're always over so fast!
|J49 T'i'lem I'nges - the last calf born to the Southern Residents in August 2012. It's hard to believe it's been almost two years since we've had a new addition to the Southern Residents - not good!|
After J2 passed surrounded by the J14s, the J16s weren't far behind, but they were racing like they were trying to catch up:
For a dedicated (crazy, fanatic) group of us, whale-watching is an addiction. We forgo things like food and sleep to get more of it. We get anxious when we go too long with out it. We feel an overwhelming sense of happiness and peace when we get it. Yup, this today provided a much needed "whale hit". :)