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Saturday, June 22, 2013

L-Pod Flyby

On June 17th, ALL of L-Pod made their way into inland waters, which is a relatively rare occurrence. Several of the L-Pod matrilines (the L2s, L5s, and L54s) don't spend that much time here - last year they were only seen in inland waters three times! What made it even more unusual is that it was just L-Pod, with no Js or Ks along with them. It shouldn't have been too surprising, then, that their travel patterns weren't the same either. Instead of coming across Haro Strait and heading north up San Juan Island which is what the residents do about 99 times out of 100, they went south and headed north up Rosario Strait instead!

On June 18th, keen to see some whales I don't see all that often, I ducked out of work for an early lunch when I heard Ls were heading back south towards the west side of San Juan Island. I don't believe all of L-Pod was present - they must have split up at some point, and I believe some animals went back south down the Rosario Strait route. The whales that were there were spread all the way across the strait, and the ones closest to shore that I could ID were from the L4 and L47 matrilines.

L86 Surprise (22 year-old female)

L47 Marina (39 year-old female)

Once I figured out who I was looking at, I took an especially close look at the youngsters in the group. Someone who follows my Orca Watcher Photography page on Facebook had recently adopted L118 Jade and asked if I had any recent pictures of her whale. I didn't have any photos of Jade from this year until this day, when the two year-old calf of an as yet unknown gender was traveling with big sister L103 Lapis:

L103 Lapis and L118 Jade
L118 Jade and L103 Lapis
I was especially glad I went out to see these whales, because not unexpectedly for L-Pod, they made their way back out west again later that night and we would again go several days until resident orcas returned.

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