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Saturday, August 1, 2015

July 17th and 18th: A Couple Days at Lime Kiln

The whales have continued to be around on almost a daily basis, which means I've been out watching them a lot and getting way behind on blog posts! Here's my start at an attempt to catch up.

On July 17th and 18th I spent a lot of time out at Lime Kiln, and got rewarded with lots of whales. On the 17th I was there as the J2s, J19s, K13s, and K14s went north, and then a short while later, back south.

A full body breach by (I think) K42 Kelp

One of the neatest things about this encounter was that a Lummi canoe was on the water with the whales. They were playing a drum and chanting, offering a prayer to their orca relations. It was very moving to witness.



On Saturday, July 18th I spent about eight hours at Lime Kiln, seeing the whales five times! It started with the J2s, J19s, K13s, and K14s going north around 1 PM and then back south at 2 PM.

What goes up must come down - K26 Lobo heading north....

K26 Lobo

....and then coming back south MUCH closer to shore:

K26 Lobo right off the rocks at Lime Kiln
Some people "complain" (not too seriously) when the whales are "too close" to get fully in their photos. Personally, I love "partial whale" shots - even intentionally staying zoomed in sometimes when I could zoom out and get the full whale. This surfacing by Lobo was one of those times.

Partial whale - gives you a sense of just how close he was, and how tall that dorsal fin is

I always love the water splash when you get to see a surfacing this close, too

In between these first two orca passbys, a minke whale came by too, startling me out of the book I was reading. This whale has been around a lot - he's got a distinct notch in his fin, and is affectionately known as Nick Jagger.

Nick Jagger - a well known local minke

I wasn't surprised this group of Js and Ks didn't go north, because we heard the rest of J- and K-Pods were inbound. Indeed, at 5:30 PM, we could see some of them coming across Haro. It looked like they were all going to go south, when the J16s and J22s split off and went north around 6:30 PM. They came back south again at 9:15 PM, just in time for sunset.

J16 Slick at sunset. Sunset whales = the best kind of whales.

True to form, little J50 was being her spunky little self. She's one of the most active baby orcas I've ever seen, usually jumping and rolling and splashing at the surface in some way, shape, or form. It's hard to believe she's seven months old already!

J50 breaching, with her older brother J26 Mike in the background
She breached her way all the way past the lighthouse!


As she got past the glow of the sunset, it got too dark to take still photos - though in one blurry shot I did catch her and a pink salmon jumping at the same time:

J50 and a salmon breaching at the same time

I switched to video at this point to try and give those who haven't met her in a person a glimpse as to why she's captured so many hearts so quickly:

video

Also, I've seen a lot at Lime Kiln over the years.....but I've never seen this! Still not sure exactly what was going on:


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