Posted by: onboardtourswhales | June 7, 2012

Southern Resident Orcas = Balcomb’s Whales

Wednesday May 30, 2012

Long ago, mariners named the whale species that preyed on other whale species, the “whale killer”. It got flipped over time into “Killer Whale”. Now that we are referring to one of the three killer whale- orca whale ecotypes as transient killer whales and Bigg’s Whales, I have decided our Southern Residents should be called Orcas, which is part of their current scientific name, and Balcomb’s Whales out of respect for the almost four decades of research Ken Balcomb and The Center for Whale Research have conducted and shared. One of the longest and informative studies of any cetacean in the world! Check out the link to the Center, on the blogroll.

It’s Orca season in the Salish Sea, we were all excited to hear the Southern Resident Orcas – Balcomb’s Whales community is back! Off the south end of Lopez Island, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, whales spread out as far as you could see, coming from Rosario Strait, heading west and southwest. Slack water made for flat water and extended visibility! J-Podders with L-87 (he’s been with J-Pod for a few years now) and K-Podders all mixed together, very active, foraging, spyhopping, breaching, tail fluke and pectoral fin slapping the waters, rolling over each other, and swimming on their backs, while chattering with vocalizations even heard above water! Or guests realized what a wondrous experience this was, to encounter all these whales and behaviors by magnificent, wild, free, intelligent animals that maintain life long family and community relationships, without destroying their environment. I hope they are finding enough of the Chinook salmon they depend on, in cleaner, toxic free waters, with a minimum amount of boat, shipping, seismic, and naval ordnance and sonar testing noises and impacts. Our efforts do make a positive difference.

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