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Friday, February 2, 2018

A Groundhog Day Visit From J-Pod

Seeing the whales is always a gift, but especially today after a week of gray rainy weather and not feeling well. The sun even came out for a few minutes as we waited for their approach to Reuben Tarte County Park! At first they were spread out and moving very slowly north, but as they neared they grouped up into what looked like a resting line with the dramatic landscape of Orcas Island behind them.

On their last surfacing as they passed us, they made a distinct turn west towards Spieden Channel, so we re-located to a friend's property further north - good decision! The whales were still moving slowly and took their time getting there, but once they did, this was the first surfacing we saw, of two them in the cove just east of where we were standing:

The J17s were in the lead and closest to shore.

J35 Tahlequah and J47 Notch
They were followed closely by L87 Onyx.

L87 Onyx with Spieden Island in the background
Most of the rest of the whales were trailing in a large, slower moving group; it's always such a thrill to see so many dorsal fins at the surface one right after another!

While this wasn't my best photo of the day, I love it because it shows just how much J38 Cookie has grown! That's J27 Blackberry on the left for comparison.

And one farewell tail slap for good measure!

While this was my first time really seeing J-Pod in 2018 (other than a few far away blows, also in San Juan Channel, on January 14th), I got the treat of listening to them on the Lime Kiln hydrophones for nearly two hours on January 28th. Here's a clip of some of the best vocalizations from that evening. And for comparison, just 24 hours earlier the T100s and some of the T124s were also vocalizing on the Lime Kiln hydrophones - hear a clip of their vocals here.

Next up, a change of scenery, a change of climate, and a change of wildlife! I'm sure more blog posts will be coming soon.


Kate said...

Awesome post but you have me intrigued.

Unknown said...

Wonderful photos and narrative. Thanks Monika!