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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Foggy Mornings, Five Gulls, and Cookie in the Sunshine

During the summer we always get some mornings with fog, but it seems like there have been a lot of them lately. For our charter this morning on the Western Prince we were driving through what Captain Hobbes called "sea smoke" - very dense, low altitude fog. We couldn't see any other vessels, although we could see the blue sky above us.

Luckily, we happened to be in the right place at the right time and we got a glimpse of the southbound J-Pod in Boundary Pass in a clear area. As the whales continued on past Turn Point and back into the densest fog (one boat reported visibility of 30 feet!), this huge freighter emerged from the mists:

Here are a few more shots of recent fog, taken from Lime Kiln Lighthouse the day I saw K-Pod whales in the fog there. The first shot is looking to the north, and the second to the south:

By this afternoon's trip the fog had all burned off and sunny skies prevailed. J-Pod had made it to the south end of San Juan Island and were heading north again when we caught up with J38 Cookie, a six year old whale. We followed along him/her for quite a while, and got some nice looks at this whale that seems a little small for its age:

The other cool thing today for me as a birdwatcher was the gulls I observed. Often the only gull species we'll see is the glaucous-winged gull, but today there were four other species as well. The highlight was seeing my first Bonaparte's gulls of the season, and still in breeding plumage with their black heads! Also observed were Western gulls, immature mew gulls, and Heermann's gulls. Very cool!

Did you join us on this or another trip with Western Prince? We always appreciate your reviews on Trip Advisor.


Anonymous said...

Has the size of the whales anything to do with the destruction of the coral due to warming oceans? I would guess that and over fishing is a culprit.

Abraham Lincoln

Monika said...

The orcas don't have any direct relationship to coral (too cold to grow here), but there is a theory that the toxins in local waters may stunt whale growth.