Posted by: onboardtourswhales | August 13, 2009

Catching Up- Transient Killer Whales and Resident Orcas

L-78 Gaia Healing

L-78 Gaia Healing

Transient Killer Whale Headstand
Transient Killer Whale Headstand
T-19B Hunting Harbor Seals

T-19B Hunting Harbor Seals

T-19B (B for Big Boy!) with Mom T-19

T-19B (B for Big Boy!) with Mom T-19

Tail Lob
Tail Lob
Escort-Rescue Tug with Oil Tanker

Escort-Rescue Tug with Oil Tanker

Juvenile Breach!

Juvenile Breach!

K-26 Lobo

K-26 Lobo

K-21 Cappuccino Breach!

K-21 Cappuccino Breach!

Super Pod!

J's-K's-L's in Rosario Strait

J-Pod Breach
J-Pod Breach
And Another J-Pod Breach (Bet they were surprised!!)

And Another J-Pod Breach (Bet they were surprised!!)

J-2 Granny Leading J-1 Ruffles
J-2 Granny Leading J-1 Ruffles
Fin in the Waves
Fin in the Waves
K-21 Cappuccino

K-21 Cappuccino

L-79 Skana
L-79 Skana
Schooners Under Sail

Schooners Under Sail

The consensus seems to be that L-78’s marks on his dorsal fin are  killer whale/orca teeth marks! The mystery remains as to who bit him!! He seems to be healing well from his encounter.

Thank you for your support and patience while it’s taken me time during my busy season of daily boat and land tours, to catch up on sightings. I will add photos next.

 

 

Transient Killer Whales     August 12, 2009

Transient killer whales T-19 and T-19B with another sprouting? male and female hunting for harbor seals around Java Rocks off of Saturna Island, Canada, from 2:37pm to 3:32pm. Slack ebb tide made for pond like conditions. The four whales circled the rocks several times, while the harbor seals on land were on alert with backs arched, some going for higher ground! There were seals in the water looking nervously about. They did make some sudden turns and lunges, underwater kills? At the west end of the rocks, T-19B paused sideways while the other 3 whales rapidly came toward him, a few lunges, one showed it’s flukes, then a few tails lobs, before they headed northwest towards Saturna. T-19B’s dorsal fin looks so big and heavy, growing faster than the rest of him, the weight of it leaning left, and he is only 14 years old- he’s going to be huge at full maturity!!

Orcas in the Mist               August 10, 2009

A misty rainy day didn’t seem to bother the orcas! Reports of all 3 pods heading in from the west;  J’s & K’s headed northwest up Haro Strait, while we found L’s between False bay and Eagle Point, some near shore, others spread 1/8 mile off of San Juan Island at 2:12pm. L-41 Mega was actively foraging with the first part of the flooding tide. A number of females and juveniles fished closer to shore, all making directional changes yet working their way east toward Cattle Point, so we enjoyed watching them until 3:45pm. They were actively vocalizing as well, a treat since conditions allowed us to drop our hydrophone and drift for awhile. We don’t often see the blows of killer whales, today they showed against the backdrop of the shore cliffs.

Close Encounter with L-74   August 7, 2009

Off of False Bay, San Juan Island, from 2:32pm to 3:37pm, we watched the L-5’s and L-54’s forage toward the east with the strong flood tide. The mom’s near shore, the males further offshore demonstrating their power and grace with rapid twists and turns. L-74 Saanich was lunging, turning sideways, still showing a little wobble in his dorsal fin, about 1000 feet away when he dove. Since he was making many directional changes, I told our passengers to look out into the water, sometimes you can see the white patches on the orca before the whale surfaces. L-74 surprised us all by slowly appearing about 10? feet underwater right next to the port side of the boat! The unusual thing was he stayed there for about 2 minutes, seem to go under the boat and came right below the surface on the starboard side, where he stayed for another minute or so before sinking down. He finally surfaced well past 2 other whale watch boats to our starboard side. The initial dive through encounter to finally surfacing lasted several minutes. I wonder that a salmon was under our boat (I hope he got it!), as he seemed to be on his side, utilizing his monocular vision? We could only see the white glow of an eye patch and part of his chin when he was on our port side, and passengers on the starboard side said they exchanged eye contact with him!! If that was not magical enough (L-74 made the unpredictable approach- the safest thing for us to do was to shut down), L-73 Flash (whose dorsal fin sure is wavy like J-1 Ruffles…) swam with little L-108 Coho keeping up 50 feet behind him, zigzagging rapidly as they fished, 500 feet away. As they turned east, L-108 breached!

Breaching Orcas                 August 3, 2009

J-Pod and K-Pod with some L’s breaching their way south, against a strong flood tide, down Rosario Strait past Burrows Lighthouse, from 2:50pm to 3:50pm. Amazing, countless surface activities brought tears to the eyes of passengers!!

New Calf L-112 Lookin’ Good  July 29, 2009

Went to Canada today, into Boundary Pass to see the L-5’s heading up L-Pod as they crossed from the east to west toward Stuart Island, from 2:30pm to 3:15pm. Visibility was great with the last of slack flood tide. Next came the L-86’s and we were thrilled to see L-112 looking healthy and active, even venturing away from mom- L-86 Surprise, then porpoising to catch back up! The other L’s were spread out to South Pender Island, occasionally breaching and tail lobbing!

J-Pod Breaching                 July 27, 2009

Nice to see J-Pod with J-2 Granny and J-1 Ruffles leading 3 groups of J-Pod across Boundary Pass, from Turn Point, Stuart Island, where they breached numerous times! Slack ebb tide made for calm waters. At 3:15pm they headed toward the Pender Islands.

J-Pod Familiar Formation July 24, 2009

J-Pod traveling against a strong flood tide, at a slow pace, almost a resting pattern, south down Rosario Strait at 2:14pm. Matrilines together in 2 tight groups. J-2 Granny classically leading the pod with J-1 Ruffles right behind her. Delightful to see the big boys- J-26, J-27, and J-30, along with the babies- J-44 & J-45. Two year old J-42 Echo, still seems to have an orangey tint to her white patches, was her birth premature?  A few tail lobs as they leisurely made their way toward Lopez Island at about 3:20pm.

J’s-K’s Dancing Westside Waltz July 23, 2009

All the people on shore today from the south end of San Juan Island up the Westside were treated to J’s and K’s doing the waltz back and forth from 11am to 5pm! We saw J-1 with one of the new calves at the 5pm pass by LimeKiln Point, as they headed back south. I also saw the same kind of backwards, arching breach, with pectoral fins spread out to the sky, like the photo on Orca Network from July 26!

K-Pod with L-87             July 22, 2009

A foggy day gave way to K-Pod with L-87 at Salmon Bank heading northwest toward Eagle Point, from 2:50pm to 3:20pm, strong flooding tide. Lots of lunging, foraging, turns, and a few breaches. Good look at K-11, K-21, and L-87.

K-Pod Power Swimming July 20, 2009

K-Pod heading north past Henry Island at about 2:25pm when they decided to turn back south and began porpoising against the strong flooding tide until at least 3:20pm!

 

 

 

Super Pod!!!                              July 15, 2009

A beautiful sight to see all the Tall Ships sailing in San Juan Channel. Reports of whales led us from about 3pm to 4pm to Rosario Strait, past Thatcher’s Pass, as the fog was lifting to reveal all three Pods form a Super Pod heading south. Slack ebb tide once again made for great visibility! L-79 showed his hunting skills, rapidly lunging and turning, with a female- mom L-22 close by his side. How does one describe seeing whales everywhere, let alone 85 whales exhibiting their full array of surface behaviors?!!


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