On August 6th a couple of us heading out to meet up with what used to be a standard grouping of whales, but has been a bit of a rarity this summer: ALL of J-Pod and ALL of K-Pod! When we met up with them off False Bay, the whales were mostly foraging way in towards shore. We were parked with several other boats watching them when one group of three surprisingly surfaced right in and among the boats. We got a fantastic look at J26 Mike:
Side note: see this photo featured in a new blog post by Patagonia written by Steven Hawley here.
The next group of whales we saw included J39 Mako, a young male that had been seen with a salmon flasher in his mouth a few days before. There was concern that he had swallowed the hook and/or was somehow entangled in the gear, but the Center for Whale Research was on the water and got a good look at him. They confirmed that the flasher was no longer attache to him (if it ever was - I wonder if he wasn't just playing with some loose fishing gear). Indeed, he seemed to be acting normally, and was rolling around with K37 Rainshadow, another male his own age.
|Two 12 year-old hanging out: K37 Rainshadow and J39 Mako|
|One of a series of tail slaps by J39 Mako|
After having been milling around for a while, the whales started to move north, again hugging the shoreline.
We hung back for a while with J28 Polaris, who was hanging at the surface by herself, logging and occasionally vocalizing into the air! Eventually she "woke up" and went to join another group of milling whales, and we peeled off to head home. Almost back to the dock, we thought we were well north of all the whales, but the lead group was surprisingly already this far north! It was too beautiful out not to stop and enjoy another look.
|J34 Doublestuf and another whale|
The Center for Whale Research was doing the same thing before heading in, and they got a nice pass from K26 Lobo - their presence gives you a little size perspective for just how big these whales are!
|K26 Lobo and the Center for Whale Research|
As they continued north their blows were backlit by the late afternoon sun: