For any use of my photos, please contact me at monika.wieland (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, August 7, 2009

Superpod in Georgia Strait

This afternoon on the Western Explorer we headed through the beautiful Canadian Gulf Islands up to the north side of Active Pass in the southern Strait of Georgia where we met up with a superpod (members of all three pods) that had made amazing time booking it north all morning. All the whales except the L5 and L54 matrilines (7 whales) were there, but they were spread out over 5+ miles. Still, we did see whales from J-Pod, K-Pod, and L-Pod.

We got a nice look at the L2 matriline, made up of mom L2 Grace and her two boys L78 Gaia and L88 Wavewalker. From left to right in the photo below is L88, L2, and L78:

About a month ago L78 showed up with some pretty serious rake marks along the front edge of his dorsal fin. They appear to be from another orca. We see rake marks on whales pretty often - probably a result of rough-housing and or disciplining - but I have never seen rake marks as deep or extensive as those Gaia returned with. There has been a lot of speculation as to what he might have done to "deserve" this from another whale....the most interesting theory I've heard is that just before he returned with the rake marks, he and the rest of L-Pod were in an area where some offshore orcas (a completely separate population) were seen. Maybe there was a rough encounter between the two different cultures of orcas that, as far as we know, rarely interact with each other?

The good news is today I was able to tell that Gaia's rake marks are healing nicely. On the left side is a photo of the rake marks on his left side back on July 12th. The rake marks looked similarly severe on both sides, so you can see on the photo on the right how much they have healed based on a photo from today, where the marks are fading. As always, click on a photo to get a larger view:

There was another family group of whales traveling with the L2 matriline, and while I wasn't able to determine who they were in person, from my photos I was able to see it was J27 Blackberry and his two younger siblings J31 Tsuchi and J39 Mako. This is interesting because at the time we were under the impression all of J-Pod was up ahead about five miles, so I guess in reality the whales were "all mixed up"! Here is male J27 on the left and male L78 Gaia on the right:

The last group coming out of Active Pass was K-Pod, and our last look of the day was of a group of four K-Pod whales traveling off separate from the rest of the pod. The left two whales are 46 year-old female K40 Raggedy and her 23 year-old brother K21 Cappuccino. The right two whales are 24 year-old female K16 Opus and her 7 year-old son K35 Sonata:

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

1 comment:

hipswimmermum said...

Just saw a male and female Orca just east of Edith Point off Campbell Bay (Mayne Island )in Georgia Strait.

They were feeding i think as there is a reef there and they were circling and diving just off the reef for about 15 minutes and now they are heading further south past Georgeson Island.


August 26th 2009