Last night I got word that all three Southern Resident pods were heading in from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Could this be our first superpod of the year?? After hanging out with a bunch of fellow naturalists at the SSAMN BBQ last night, I decided to head to the west side and see if I could see any of them. I heard from a friend that some had already gone north, but you never know, so out I went.
When I got to the west side I could see a few whales still slowly heading north in front of Lime Kiln Point State Park. By the time I got down to the rocks they had turned and were facing south, and two whales were just lollygagging a little ways offshore. They would surface lazily before going down on another long dive, occasionally spyhopping or tailslapping. I was thrilled to identify them as K22 Sekiu and K33 Tika - my first time seeing K-Pod whales this season!
I couldn't believe how big Tika was. He's ten years old, and has grown a lot since last year.
The whales stayed in one place for a long time, and then three or four more came down from further north. I'm pretty sure they were probably the rest of the K12s, the family group that K22 and K33 are a part of. There was one little calf that was probably K43, born last year. At this point they seemed to decide to move on, and picked up speed heading to the south.
This morning I wondered who went north, who stayed south, and who would still be around with all three pods supposedly having made it in last night. I went out to Land Bank on the west side and learned from a friend that many whales were heading out west, possibly Ks and Ls. Well, that was a very short superpod visit! There were, however, very spread out whales on the westside: J-Pod was still here. Some whales, including J2 Granny and her family group, had already passed by and were well south, but I settled in to wait for the rest of J-Pod to show up.....and they did!
|J26 Mike, with the outskirts of Victoria on Vancouver Island in the background|
|From left to right: J17 Princess Angeline, J35 Talequah, and calf J47|
As they continued south, a young whale - I think J47 - breached four or five times in a row. It was an awesome sight, with nothing but the water and the cloud-covered Olympic Peninsula in the background....