On July 22nd, many members of J-, K-, and L-Pods were hanging out on the west side of San Juan Island - unfortunately just out of reach! I could see them from shore through binoculars, but most of them were in large, highly social, slow moving groups quite a ways away. A few whales did finally come up as far as Lime Kiln, including K12 Sequim who did a couple of fantastic breaches:
|The (very robust looking) K12 Sequim|
I kept switching where I was watching from on shore, hoping to end up in the right place at the right time as it kept looking like the whales *might* come closer. It was brief, but finally I was, as J26 Mike surprised me out of no where off Land Bank. He was traveling with some K-Pod whales, and caught himself a kelp flag to fly along the way.
|J26 Mike off Land Bank|
Heavy winds kept us off the water most of the week, but we had one of the biggest early supporters of the Orca Behavior Institute in town, and we really wanted to get her out on the water. Luckily, on her last full day on the island, the conditions were right to get out and see some Js and Ks at Open Bay.
|J36 Alki and J52|
|A big breach by K44 Ripple|
The whales were super vocal, and we got some of our best recordings of the season during this encounter. You can listen to a clip of what we recorded here.
On July 25th, with friends in town visiting, we caught up members of all three pods again as they cruised by Lime Kiln late in the day. It was a blustery evening and the whales were spread all the way across Haro Strait, with some close and many very far away.
One thing I love about Lime Kiln - aside from the fact that it's the best place to see whales from shore - is that it's the center of a real community of whale watchers. As a regular visitor for the last 15 years, it turns out I've come to know a lot of the people who spend time there! During this passby, I think I knew about 15-20 people who were on the rocks behind me! One friend snapped this shot that shows a couple of us on the rocks:
|Lime Kiln whale watchers: Melissa, Jill, me :)|
As per usual (for this summer anyway), the K14s were traveling with J2 Granny and her group.
I was very thankful when one whale flew by right off the rocks, giving our out-of-town visitors a quick glimpse into the magic of Lime Kiln.
|A quick hello from L82 Kasatka|