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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Js and Ks Resting in the Morning, Ls Playing in the Afternoon

Today was another one of those fabulous days aboard the Western Prince. On both the morning and the afternoon trips we left the dock unsure if we were going to see killer whales, and we ended up having two fantastic encounters.

On the morning trip we headed up Swanson Channel in the Canadian Gulf Islands to the north, where we met up with both J and K Pods. Both pods were in resting formation, which means when you see one dorsal fin, you see them all! Js were a little further offshore than Ks, so we would see one group surface close to shore, and then another closer to us. I have never seen two pods resting like that at the same time....SO MANY fins! How cool. Check out some shots of the J-Pod resting line:

After heading through Active Pass, J and K Pods shot to the northeast and out of our range. We decided to head south for our afternoon trip to look for what have been very reliable minke whales out near Salmon Bank. Indeed, in what has become the usual spot, Captain Hobbes spotted a minke. Minkes can be a little slinky, but today this little whale was definitely interested in checking us out, and surfaced near the boat on three separate occassions. It caught me totally off guard and I didn't have my camera in hand, but you could see the whole body of the whale - from its eye on the side of its head right down to the tip of its flukes. It was a pretty small animal again, so I'm wondering if its not the same whale that checked out the Western Explorer the other day. I did grab my camera in time to get this shot:

Then came the word that everyone was hoping for: L-Pod was inbound from Victoria. Thankfully we had gone south, because it put us in perfect position to catch up with them. When we got on scene they were spread out into two or three different groups, and the group we saw was made up of a bunch of playful mothers, calves, and juveniles.

It was my first good look at calf L112, who was born earlier this year to L86 Surprise:

There was a lot of rolling at the surface, so you would see different parts of the whales' bodies. as they swam by. Here's a pec slap an inverted tail slap:

Here are three whales surfacing together as we got our last look of the day. I didn't notice it at the time, but a lot of my photos show the blows as having a slight rainbow tint to them....I like to call these "rainblows":

This shot of L95 Nigel shows it a little better:

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


Vera said...

I love seeing all of the dorsal fins in a row. Great shots!

Unknown said...

Great work, as always, and thanks for sharing with the world. I don't know if anyone has commented on this before, but I'd say you're beginning to move in an even more positive direction with these photographs, especially with regards to the shots that are as much artistic as illustrative. Don't get me wrong -- your illustrations of sea-life are nothing short of superb -- but the shots that tell more of a story, with the human and land involvement as examples, definitely make a positive contribution to the overall body of work.

Monika said...

Thanks Vera!

Brient - I really appreciate the feedback. You make a good point about the inclusion of other elements telling more of a story, and with the whales especially, there is quite a story to tell.