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Monday, July 19, 2010

July 17th - A Foggy Morning With Js

This post is from Saturday morning's trip - a bit delayed because I'm switching internet providers at home and have been without internet for a few days. If you are looking for pictures from Sunday's trips, I will get them up tomorrow, when hopefully I will be back up and running! To answer Dave's question from the morning of the 17th, though - yes, we do see whales in the fog!

I normally associate foggy mornings with August, but we’ve already had several foggy days so far this July. It was pretty patchy fog today, so as we cruised up San Juan Channel we were enjoying the sunshine, and when we got near the whales at first we got to watch them emerging from the fog, which was neat. As they continued north towards us, however, the fog seemed to follow them and soon we were encircled with fog too!

Some people might think viewing whales in the fog is less fun than in the sun, but we actually have some pretty spectacular encounters with the whales in the fog and in addition to providing conditions for some interesting photographs to me it always make the experience seem almost more magical.

Today we caught up with part of J-Pod and the first whales we saw were J1 Ruffles, J2 Granny, and the J14 family group. Here from left to right are J1 Ruffles, J14 Samish, and J30 Riptide:

L7 Canuck and L53 Lulu were also nearby, as they have seemingly switched back to hanging out with J-Pod for a while after hanging with other L-Pod whales earlier in the season. L7 Canuck did a series of big tail slaps:

In addition to the whales, there were a lot of rhinoceros auklets around. I wonder how these and other sea birds, that normally fly just over the surface of the water, manage to navigate through the fog without hitting anything?

While watching the whales we heard several different ships sounding their fog horns, and eventually one would appear from the mists. Here is the Washington State Ferry Chelan coming across Haro Strait in the fog.

Before we left we saw the whales do quite a few spyhops. Normally we’ll just see a single spyhop here and there, so it was unusual to see several sequences of spyhops by different whales. I wonder what they make of trying to see through the foggy air? This spyhop was by J2 Granny:

On the way back to Friday Harbor we went through Spieden Channel, where we were again in the sunshine. The clearer conditions allowed us to see multiple bald eagles soaring over Spieden Island. We also went by Sentinel Island where there were lots of harbor seals hauled out. We are now in the middle of the pupping season and many females have little pups right next to them. There are two in this photo.

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