After a very sunny, dry summer we finally got a couple days of much-needed rain. The temperatures were still warm, but with it being so gray out, it was easy to hole up, and I was already in my pajamas at home after work when I heard that whales were heading towards the west side. I debated staying comfy, but only for a moment - soon I was out the door with camera bag in hand. Good decision!
It was one of those nights where most of the people on the rocks are your friends. That's one of the things I love about Lime Kiln - moments like that. The lighting was ethereal as the fog banks came and went. It had the essence of winter about it - except it was warm, and still light after 6 PM!
|The mood - foggy some directions....|
|....clear in others|
We couldn't see that far too the north, so weren't sure how close the whales were. We did have a bit of a wait, but there was plenty of stuff to look at, including a Steller sea lion and a couple of bait balls:
|See the two with mouths full of fish?|
|Who says glaucous-winged gulls aren't diving birds?|
Finally it cleared enough that we could see a line of whales coming - but then the fog came back in as they passed us. It was pretty neat, though hard to focus the camera!
There was a gap between this first group of whales and the next one, and during this time a minke whale went by way off shore!
There was also a great blue heron drifting towards us on some kelp. First it caught a gunnel:
|That's a fish hanging out of the heron's beak|
Then the heron took flight, and landed on another raft of kelp right in front of us! With the lighting, it was perfect:
Next up were J42 Echo, who paused to presumably pursue a fish:
And not far away was big brother J26 Mike, with an amazing blue-gray backdrop:
Pretty much the only people at the lighthouse other than whale-watching friends of mine were this couple getting married! Perhaps not the weather they were hoping for, but still not bad timing!
|Exchanging vows, then watching whales - all from the top of the lighthouse!|
Then the fog REALLY moved in. As J2 Granny came by, we could hear her before we could see her, and then glimpse her only barely. The next couple of whales we couldn't see at all!
|Shore-based whale-watching in the fog|
|Boat-based whale-watching in the fog|
Finally, just as I was going up the hill to leave, the fog lifted again just enough to see L87 Onyx rocketing by the lighthouse, a bit behind the others.
Just another one-of-a-kind night at Lime Kiln! :)