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Monday, July 12, 2010

The Whale Puzzle Continues

Seas in Haro Strait were unseasonably rough this afternoon so I was happy enough to have the day off and to be looking for the whales from shore. I missed a late morning passby while taking care of a list of neglected chores but decided to head out to Land Bank to read for a couple hours anyway and was in luck since the whales turned around and came back north right by where I was sitting.

One of the first things I saw, which I thought was pretty cute, was a pair of spyhops. one right after the other An adult female spyhopped and two seconds later (by the time stamp on my photos) a little whale spyhopped right next to where she had been. From my photos I think it may have been J16 Slick and her youngest calf, J42 Echo:

At first I thought I just saw a small group of whales coming, but it turns out it was just difficult to spot them at a distance among all the white caps and quite a few ended up passing by. I've spent some time puzzling over my photographs trying to figure out who all was there and it looks to me like it was a group of L-Pod whales (potentially the same ones we saw yesterday - some of them were the same anyway) and a group of J-Pod whales (the other half that we didn't see yesterday).

One thing I'm sure of is that J-Pod has been consistently splitting into two groups. Yesterday's group was made up of the J17s, J22s, and J11s. Today I saw the other group, made up of the J14s, J16s, and what I call the J2s (J1, J2, J8, J19, J41). When I say something like "the J14s", I'm referring to the J14 matriline, made up of J14 and her offspring. Here's a picture of some of them from today, with J14 Samish on the left, J40 Suttles in the middle, and J37 Hy'shqa on the right trailing kelp off of her dorsal fin.

For those who are keeping score, in terms of L-Pod whales, I saw family members from the following matrilines: the L26s, the L72s, the L55s, and the L47s. As mentioned above, I think all these family groups were there yesterday, as were at least half the L12s, who could have been mixed in there somewhere today too. You guys following all this? I barely am!

I figure I might have more luck with taking some video clips from shore since I'll at least have a stable platform to start from, so here is one I shot today.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Choppy out there today. Nice bit of vid many thanks keep em coming.



Chris said...

Superb video once again Monika... And beautiful pictures too, seeing the waves it was probably difficult to get these nice shots!