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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wind, Waves, and Whales

It has been a windy summer and today was another one of those days. I was happy to be on land rather than on the water with the seas like they were today! J and K Pods made their way back south from the Fraser River and I saw them from Lime Kiln lighthouse. The whales never seem to come as close to shore in rough seas, but it's still pretty cool to see them. As some of the whales were approaching, I could see the blows but not the dorsal fins! Some of the whales came porpoising by, and their splashes blended in with the other white caps.

Combined with the harsh late afternoon lighting, I ended up with some abstract photos:

The calves were especially hard to see. They often come high out the water to make sure their blowhole clears the water when they take a breath, and it must be especially challenging for them in conditions like this. Earlier this season an orca calf was found dead on the southern end of Vancouver Island. It was later determined to be a newborn transient calf and they think it may have died because it was born during a wind storm and may have had trouble breathing and nursing. Thankfully this little calf today seemed to be doing just fine next to mom:

There were some sea bird bobbing out in the waves but it was hard to determine what they were - probably auklets and murres. There was a bait ball a little ways offshore too, so the gulls were finding something to eat, and several of the orcas stopped and milled around, presumably to fish for some salmon. This harbor seal wasn't interested in food at the moment, and instead wrapped itself up in the kelp just off the rocks. Was it trying to find some refuge from the waves?

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