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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Part of J-Pod in Boundary Pass and at Sunset

I think summer has finally arrived! Today we had sunshine all day and temperatures in the 70s, with more of the same forecast for the next week. It was perfect weather for heading out this afternoon on the Western Explorer, our zodiac-style boat.

On our way north we spotted several bald eagles hanging out on a small rocky island. A closer look revealed that they had a carcass they were feeding on, shown here at the feet of the left eagle.

Up in Boundary Pass we met up with part of J-Pod (for the last little while the Js have been traveling in two separate groups). Again some of the older whales were in the lead, and again they were fairly active. We saw a couple of cartwheels from J1 Ruffles, a distant breach and a spyhop by J8 Spieden, and a couple of breaches by J2 Granny. I'm not positive, but this may well be her:

A little later before heading home we had a nice closer pass by J8 Spieden, who is distinct with her comparatively short, stubby dorsal fin.

What do I want to do after spending a day at work, part of which was on the water on the sunshine watching whales? Enjoy some more sunshine and watch some more whales, of course. We headed out to Land Bank on the westside of the island where bait fish were jumping all over the place. There were so many of them it was even possible to get some photos!

I wasn't the only whale nut - some other Western Prince employees showed up too - just in time to see the same group of J-Pod whales that I saw earlier in the day head south in the golden sunset lighting. They were a little ways offshore but it was incredibly peaceful to listen to their breathing and watch their dark silhouettes break the calm surface of the water. One whale breached four times:

I liked this photo that captured the moment whale. An adult male whale continues south down the strait, a freighter heads north, and the Olympic Mountains catch the last of the sunlight in the background: finally feels like summer is here!!


Chris said...

Hi Monica,
What a post!!! wow from the eagle shot to the orca magnificent pictures, I'm thrilled and stunned. beautiful!

Julie said...

ah.... so gorgeous! monika, would you like to trade places this summer? you can come do graduate school and i can go hang out with orcas all summer. granted, there is a bit of writing to do on this end, but i promise to "work" hard, watching those beautiful critters and talking to people about them. it's a fair trade, yes?!

Monika said...

Julie - I'm so tempted! I just don't think I know enough about tucas or it would be a perfect exchange :)