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Monday, September 22, 2008

New Ts in a new place

I love seeing whales I haven't ever seen before, and I love watching whales in new places. Yesterday, I got to do both at the same time. After seeing a minke whale in San Juan Channel, we headed northwest to Moresby Island. (For those of you checking my map for reference, its near where Haro Strait and Swanson Channel come together - the biggest island on the left.) When we got there we encountered the T2s - a group of 4 whales. The oldest is female T2, and traveling with her is her third offspring T2C, as well as T2C's two offspring, T2C1 and T2C2. I still can't believe how many transients have been around over the last 6 weeks or so. I've seen more transients this summer than in all previous summers put together! I've also gotten to see quite a few different groups and have started becoming familiar with them. After today, I can add the T2s to the list, as they're a group I'd never seen before.

From left to right: T2C2, T2C, T2C1, and T2

They were pretty "quiet" it terms of activity and hunting, as they were surfacing a few times and going down for fairly long dives of five minutes or longer. The most action was when one of the whales did a full-body lunge through a group of sea gulls that were trying to steal fish scraps from a Steller sea lion. We thought the chase might be on, but the Steller disappeared and the whales continued slowly on their way. Still, it was an absolutely beautiful place to watch whales with bizarre lighting through the cloud breaks, silvery water, and the tall hills of Saltspring Island in the background.

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