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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Superb Saturday with Js and Ks

Today was a pretty spectacular day to be whale-watching from Lime Kiln Point State Park. After lunch I got to the west side of the island just in time to see J and K Pods pass by heading north. The first two whales I saw were K20 Spock and K38 Comet, and they passed close to shore. There was a gap before the next group of whales came, and in that time I was joined on the rocks by three black oystercatchers:

The next group of whales included some of the J16s as well as J32 Rhapsody. There were also close to shore, swimming just off the kelp. Being mid-afternoon, the whales were silhouetted and it was hard to ID everyone, even from the photos. Sometimes it doesn't matter who is who:

This one is a little more abstract, but I love how it turned out. That's J16 Slick coming up in front:

The whales were definitely taking their time as they moved north, traveling at a slow pace. A few of them seemed to stop and forage north of the lighthouse. Most of them weren't very active, but J32 Rhapsody seemed to be in a bit of a playful mood - here is one of her tail slaps with J16 Slick surfacing in front of her:

Following this group were K21 Cappuccino and K40 Raggedy, then there was another gap before the large trailing group of whales passed by. This last group included the J11s, the J22s, and the J17s - including the three young calves. Here's one of the calves, J47, who already has a big notch in the trailing edge of the dorsal fin. What did he do to get that? It makes him look like his aunt, J28 Polaris, who also has a big nick in the middle of her fin:

Here is J17 Princess Angeline with her calf J44, who will be named at the end of this month. (If you want to help pick the names for four orca calves including J44, you have until the end of August to do so here.)

A couple of big purse seiners drove through, also just off the shoreline and right where the whales were traveling. There are a lot of them out fishing right now during this record salmon season. Some people were upset to see them driving so close to the whales, but there's something odd about how the whales behave around these boats. The orcas have dealt with them for a long time, so perhaps they're used to them? Whatever it is, they certainly don't seem to avoid the seiners, even when they're motoring right where the whales are traveling:


Quantum Tiger said...

Great shots. I'd love to get that close to Orca! One day...

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