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Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 26th: Hangin' Out at Land Bank

On Monday, June 26th the westside shuffle by Js and the K14s continued and I was lucky enough to catch one of their northbound passes on my (extended) lunch break. The first few whales were spread out and several hundred yards offshore, but then a tighter group slowly rounded the bend to the south and made the hoped-for turn to aim inland towards us waiting on the shoreline of Land Bank's Westside Preserve.

Heading towards us!
It turned out to be the K14s with J39 Mako and J40 Suttles, and after a long dive they made a slow pass along the whole length of the shoreline where we were, slow enough that I could walk along the rocks with them. The pictures don't fully capture it, but from this one you get a glimpse of how the color of the water let us see their bodies underwater more than usual.

K26 Lobo
It was a perfect moment to capture how awesome shore-based whale-watching can be. I snapped this photo of this group of visitors (and was able to share it with them afterwards!):

And I was thankful my husband Jason stayed above me on the rocks and took one of me, too!

They made one more surfacing as a group before diving again....

I assumed when they next surfaced they would be further north up the shoreline towards Lime Kiln, but instead they were offshore and proceeded to mill back and forth for a while. K26 Lobo wasn't in a hurry to go anywhere, and the presence of the whale watch vessel Squito didn't keep him from showing off his "sea snake". He's upside down with his erect penis visible here:

While that group hung out offshore, more whales continued to pass inshore, including some of the J17s:

J17 Princess Angeline and J53 Kiki

J17 Princess Angeline, J53 Kiki, and J44 Moby.
Next came the very playful J16s, who also were in no hurry to go anywhere, going back and forth past the Land Bank shoreline several times.

J26 Mike with his dorsal fin covered in kelp

Was that going to be all? Nope! A look to the south while all this was going on revealed this sight:

The rest of J-Pod came to join the party, and K14's group and J16's group had seemingly been waiting for them as when they all met up they all finally continued north in big, cuddle-puddle fashion.

Spyhop alongside two whales who are right off the kelp bed south of Land Bank
From left to right: L87 Onyx, J45 Se-Yi'-Chn, J38 Cookie, and J22 Oreo
After two days of going back and forth, the residents finally did commit to going north, and would spend the next 2+ days up near the Fraser River. Next up is my report from when they did come back south to San Juan Island again!

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