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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth! And Explorer Trip Superpod

Happy Fourth of July everyone! We had some nice fireworks here in Friday Harbor, as we do every year. What's awesome is we can watch them right from the docks at our marina.

But I get ahead of myself. The first thing that happened today was another trip on the Western Explorer. When we left the dock it sounded like some of the whales were heading out west towards the Pacific Ocean and a small group of L-Pod whales was on the westside. Once we got on scene, though, it turned out all three pods decided to stay in, and we ended up seeing whales from all three pods.

The first whale we came across way off shore was male J30 Riptide. The whales were really spread out, so after a while we headed in shore to check out some whales who were more grouped up. They were all pretty much milling - heading north for a while, then west offshore, then south, then back east towards shore.

We had a really nice pass by J34 Doublestuf, an 11 year-old male who is already got a "fin sprout" and has grown a lot taller since last year. If you look closely (click on the photo to see a larger version) you can see a notch in his dorsal fin, which is new as of last year:

I was only identifying mostly J-Pod whales out on the water, but once I got home and looked at my photos I found L22 Spirit, shown surfacing here in front of False Bay. She's a 38 year-old female who is the mother of two sons. We were seeing a lot of tall dorsal fins in the area, so they were probably nearby when we were viewing them. Their family group is part of the L12 sub-group that often splits off from the rest of L-Pod.

Later in the evening, we were treated to a spectacular pink and blue sunset before the fireworks. Here's the view from the back deck of our houseboat:

And THEN came the fireworks :)


Warren Baker said...

A 38 year old Whale. How old does the average whale live for Monika ? (in it's natural state)

Nice pink sunset. :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

50 in a few weeks -half way to my telegram from the queen - good question from Warren.



Monika said...

Adult males have an average lifespan of about 40, but our oldest male is estimated to be 58. Adult females usually live a bit longer as they have an extended post-reproductive period to their life cycle...we have several animals in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, and one female estimated to be a whopping 98 years old!