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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 25th: One of those mornings (OBI#11)

All week Keith had been saying we would go out early on his birthday and have a great whale encounter. I was hoping the stars would align for just that, but didn't necessarily share his confidence that it would happen. I should have trusted him! The morning of June 25th turned out to be one of my best whale encounters of the season.

We picked up members of J-Pod - the J16s -  heading south from False Bay.

They soon led us towards Eagle Point, where we could see other whales offshore in the glassy blue waters.

J41 Eclipse and her son J51

We met up with an interesting grouping made up of J2, the J19s, and the K14s.

K26 Lobo

K26 Lobo

Then the magic happened. It started with two breaches by K26 Lobo.

That got everyone going! And in perfect lighting, too.

K14 Lea

K14 Lea

J19 Shachi

J19 Shachi

K26 Lobo - my favorite shot of the day

K26 Lobo

We saw about 10 breaches in the span of a couple minutes. Truly, there are no words - it was one of those unforgettable experiences. You can see larger versions of these photos (and order prints) at this online gallery.

And the morning wasn't quite over yet. As we let this group go by, we found ourselves with the J14s.

The J14s
I was so swept up by the breaches that I missed this gem of a photo on my first pass through the pictures from the day:

Three generations from left to right: J14 Samish, J37 Hy'shqa, and J49 T'ilem I'nges

On our way home we stopped to check out a peregrine falcon nest, where three chicks are transitions from down to feathers and are exploring the cliffs around their home. It was hard to spot them - they blended in so well with the guano covered ledges!

Peregrine falcon chick - can you spot it?

A bunch of pigeon guillemots, one of my favorite sea birds, nest in the same area too:

A a classic pigeon guillemot crash landing, with splayed bright red feet

It was an epic morning. Happy birthday Keith!

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