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Friday, August 21, 2009

J33 Keet and Other Js in Boundary Pass

Today on the Western Explorer we headed up north through some choppy waters to meet up with part of J-Pod off of East Point. At first we thought that all of J-Pod was probably there, but we heard from Jeanne that she saw several J-Pod family groups off of the west side of San Juan Island at the same time, so the pod must have split into two groups last night! It's pretty unusual for Js to split, but they've done it a few times already this year. I'm pretty sure we had the J2, J14, and J16 families up where we were.

We got to see the whales pass right by East Point on Saturna Island, one of the Canadian Gulf Islands. Check out the view these shore-based whale-watchers got! (Those cliffs they're standing on are pretty spectacular too.)

The whales had been moving pretty quickly as they entered Boundary Pass, but all of a sudden they really slowed down, spread out, and appeared to be doing some foraging. We just stayed put to see what would happen, and then got rewarded for our patience by a beautiful pass by J33 Keet, a young male. Keet is the Tlingit word for "orca", which is how he got his name. Here he is on the approach; I like this shot because its kind of an unusual angle and it shows a lot of the setting:

One of my favorite things about watching whales is when its quiet enough to hear their blows. I've heard them countless times before, but I was still impressed by how forceful and loud Keet's blow was!

Check out the water streaming off both is melon (forehead) and dorsal fin in this shot, taken just a split second after the one above:

I still get so excited watching whales sometimes I forget to aim the camera or zoom out or do the other things you are supposed to do to get a good picture. Still, I like the odd-angle results:


Warren Baker said...

Do you ever get inthe water with the Orcas ? Would they eat you!!

PS ive put a map on my blog, click on it to see a map of my patch! I'll put photo's on at a later date

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Look at them on the riocks - give my eye teeth to be stood there with em!



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