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Friday, July 23, 2010

July 21st - A Beautiful Afternoon With Js

On Wednesday we left Friday Harbor thinking we had a ways to travel, as we had a report a group of whales that were up in the Canadian Gulf Islands. We always tell our passengers to keep their eyes out along the way because just because we know where one group of whales are, it doesn't mean there aren't others in the area. On our way north, we got a phone call saying there was another group of whales rumored to be in the area. We made a little detour and sure enough - we found part of J-Pod in Boundary Pass!

Some of the whales were surfacing in synchrony together which is always so beautiful to see. There's actually five whales in the photo below - the little calf almost disappears against the whale behind it on the left! It's amazing how small they look next to the adults, and then to think that when they are born they are already six feet long and 400 pounds!


In this tight group of five whales were members of two different matrilines. From left to right in the photo below are the 9 month old calf J46, its mom J28 Polaris, J22 Oreo, and her son J34 Doublestuf. The other whale that was surfacing with them was J32 Rhapsody.


As they approached Turn Point the whales spread out and picked up speed and we saw J34 Doublestuf do a couple of huge lunges as he porpoised into Haro Strait:


As the whales continued south, we got to parallel alongside J28 Polaris and her calf J46. There's something so special about seeing a baby orca, and we're lucky to have quite a few of them this year:


While we were watching the whales there was a lot of other wildlife to see as well. We actually saw a minke whale surface right in the same area the orcas were traveling, and this wasn't a typical place we see minke whlaes! Lots of sea birds were also around, including rhinoceros auklets and gulls. This is a great time of year to see gulls in the islands as there are 5 or 6 different species that it's possible to see. We came across a mixed flock of Heermann's gulls, glaucous-winged gulls, and mew gulls feeding on the surface. Here is a mew gull that flew right overhead as we were watching the whales:

1 comment:

Anthony Miners said...

Very nice images and interesting blog.Just added to your follow list and on my blogs i follow.
Anthony