Saturday, December 24, 2005

Snub Nose Dolphin


A new dolphin species was identified by scientists off the coast of north Australia. The animals, which have been named snubfin dolphins were initially thought to be members of the Irrawaddy dolphin species, but DNA tests have confirmed them to be a distinct species. The snubfins are coloured differently and have different skull, fin and flipper measurement to the Irrawaddy dolphin. It is not known how many snubfin dolphins are in existence, but numbers are thought to be low, with a group of about 200 living off Townsville, north-east Australia.

For information on WDCS science and field projects around the world, please go to

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Greeting Ceremony

Greeting Ceremony


One group of whales stopped, tightened up, and made surface vocalizations. Another group lined up in front of them and the two groups slowly travelled towards each other in lines. When they met, they dove and made some beautiful underwater vocalizations.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005



T7A has some new teeth marks on the left side of his saddle patch. This whale and a female transient (T7) were seen together in various passage of Clayqouot Sound from September 4 to 6, 2005.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The Southern Resident killer whales have been listed as Endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Beam Reach Acoustics

Beam Reach Journal

Sunday October 2

12:28 Aboard the Anacortes ferry on route to Friday Harbour to mentor acoustic studies and acquire ambient sound files. Ten of us spend the night aboard Gato Verde a 42-foot Cutter Catamaran and set sail in the morning.

Monday October 3 - Photos1 Photos2 Photos3


10:30 Depart Friday Harbor bound westside of San Juan Island. We travel down San Juan Island Channel with the ebb tide. Around Cattle Point at noon we meet up with J, K, and L pods, southern resident killer whales, Orcinus orca. They are heading southwest toward Hein Bank spread out in small groups foraging. We cut the engines and deploy the hydrophones. We record them using echolocation and making tonal calls. The calls eventually increased in number and repetitiveness. The killer whales turned back northeast toward San Juan Island. We moved back toward the island and practice sailing techniques. J1, Ruffles the oldest male in the community passes in the sunset. I noticed a cetacean footprint to our starboard side. It was small and looked like a Dall’s porpoise. Since they are attracted to boats travelling at this speed, in the spring and fall seasons, I went to the bow and noticed white patches just below the blue-green surface. We lay down in the cat’s mesh netting between hulls as they Bowride. One of them looked like a hybrid. It was big and the same shape as the others but was coloured like a Harbour porpoise.

Tuesday October 4

Greeting Ceremony

10:30 Depart Mitchell Bay, Sung Cove, and sail for a couple hours past Lime Kiln. The whales were all together again heading south off False Bay. We recorded beautiful calls and then the whales eventually turned back toward San Juan Island. The whales became sociable and about a dozen whales grouped up in the reserve and made some incredible surface sounds. They faced another group and headed toward them in a line. Both groups of whales slowly travelled toward each other. They met up and drove below the surface. The acoustic then just went off as the two groups increased their vocalizations. After about 15min the two groups separated and one went north and the other south.

Wednesday October 5 - Photos

07:45 Depart Roche Harbor bound for False Bay. There were no whales there so I made some ambient recordings of the area with fishing, shipping, and no boats tracks while we discussed logistics. As the day progressed whale reports came in with residents off Point Roberts, transients north of Orcas Island, and a humpback south of Race Rocks. As it was late in the day we decided to drop anchor around Cattle Point in Fish Creek, south of Griffin Bay. There were Seller sea lions in Salmon Bank and one harbour seal with a salmon in its mouth. While at anchor we took some recordings of Gato Verde at different distances while the Oyster Catchers watched nearby.

Thursday October 6 - Photos


10:30 Depart Fish Creek and travel around Cattle Point toward False Bay. The L12’s were foraging and L85, a sprouting male named Mystery, came nearby and made some very clear calls and echolocation clicks. We then moved south toward Iceberg Point, Lopez Island, as the other southern residents were travelling south down Rosario Strait. I noticed how the calls there were sounding like Luna and then L67, Splash, Luna’s mother and little brother L101 past by.

Friday October 7 - Photos

Purple Heron

09:00 Depart Mackaye Harbor, Lopez Island, and sail wing on wing north to Friday Harbor for supplies. We pass by Goose Island in San Juan island Channel and see Steller sea lions and many seals. After leaving Friday Harbor we again head further north to Sucia Island for the night. We find a spot on the dock in Fossil bay and go ashore for a walk. It is almost twilight and the beautiful Arbutus tree lined bays illuminate the moon’s crescent shape.

Saturday October 8

Beam Reach Acoustics 2005

07:30 Depart Fossil Bay, head into Boundary Passage to conduct localization experiments. Reports of whales off Turn point so we head through Johns Pass and saw an amazing First Nations long house and totem pole. All three pods were spread out from Henry Island to Kelp Reef travelling south. A group was foraging off Kellett Bluff were with Dall’s porpoises that were rooster tailing. Other whales fed along the tide line and sea gulls were diving for scraps overhead.

Sunday October 9

09:30 Depart Friday Harbor aboard the ferry bound for Sidney, BC, escorted by the US Coast Guard up San Juan Channel. At Green Point in Spieden Channel a Seller seal lion was feeding. Out in Haro Strait over a dozen Dall’s porpoises were darting back and forth after fish.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Today started out near Turn Point, Stuart Island, with several groups of whales spread out heading north. The whales foraged and travelled slowly with one logging, resting, at the surface. At South Pender Island the whales turned east and picked up speed along Saturna Island. We left the scene with them proposing and breaching toward East Point.

Sunday, September 18, 2005







Yesterday the Beam Reach students form the Friday Harbor Labs were onboard with M3. Reports of a Minke and J, K, and L pods led us out past Discovery Island where we caught up with the leaders of the superpod heading southwest in the Juan de Fuca strait. They were quite active with some spy hops and proposing in the heavy ocean swells. They then grouped up for some surface logging and shortly after headed back to San Juan Island. As they headed northeast they form a very long resting. The sea was smoother in Haro strait and had a wonderful aroma of fresh fish. Towards the end of the day we saw a female and pink calf frolicking near a mass of floating kelp. Good luck Beam Reach with all you interesting acoustic studies this year!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I went to Nootka Sound for the Labour Day long weekend with Chantelle and Darren. On Saturday we went to Yuqout at the mouth of Nootka Sound. As we entered Friendly Cove we saw a humpback whale pass the stern then watched it from the lookout as it breached. On the trip back Luna visited us for a short time in Mooyah Bay before he turned back into the sunset. On Sunday I went out with Mike and Suzanne of Mountainside Films to recorded Luna. There was a fair bit of vessel traffic making audio challenging but he was making a few distant short calls before surprising us by using echolocation.

Friday, August 26, 2005

L pod

L73 / Flash

L73 / Flash

L pod

Today was an exciting time on the water with Five Star Whale Watching. We left Victoria Harbour in the afternoon and caught up with L pod in strong winds near San Juan Island. The whales breached and started to lunge right out of the water after fish. Flash, L73, and the L9 matriline passed near the boat. Their saddles, patch behind dorsal fin, were striking white against their slick black bodies. We then dropped the hydrophone, underwater microphone, into the water to listen to them echolocate, use sonar, to locate fish as the pod foraged in small groups. When it was time to turn back a mother and her calf passed by in the beautifully glistening sunset. Thank you 5 Star for a wonderful day out on the water!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Transients in Oak Bay
Today we followed transient, marine mammal hunting, killer whales along the southeast side of Southern Vancouver Island. It turned out to be the T41 group, which has increased in size now including a couple of youngsters. As we arrived on scene we found the whales all around a whale-watch boat as the whales attempted to hunt down a seal. They put on quite a show breaching and tail slapping all around the vessel. The whales then continued travelling south close to shore near Gordon Head. The fog then rolled in from the south as the weather dropped and the wind picked up. A couple of seals off 10 Mile Point grouped up in the water offshore. The look in their eyes was pure terror as the whales passed about 500 meters away off the point. We kept up with the T41 group until we reached Gonzales Point where we made an acoustic recording.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Tuesday, August 02, 2005




There were reports this morning (July 30) of killer whales at Point Roberts so we headed out north only to be caught in fog so we turned back towards Race Rocks in hopes to finds whales out there. Upon arrival we found a few whale watchers with a couple of humpback whales. It was a sunny and breezy afternoon as we stayed with these whales most of the day while patrolling the ecological reserve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Phocoenoides dalli

Today we followed the L12' along False Bay as they travelled south through a strong 3 knot flood tide. Boat traffic and incidents were moderate and it was great to see everyone doing their best to cooperate. During our sound recordings we were fortunate to hear the whales making several calls. We spotted a Dall's porpoise twice during the day.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Jpod calf

M3 records data of a pleasure craft breaching whale guidelines. Boat was under high power in the presence of the whales and several calfs.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

Monday, June 13, 2005


Today was a bit rough on the water so we were out for half the day. Managed to get a sample ambient recording near Kellet Bluff in a sea state of 4. We saw a group of six harbour porpoises traveling east at noon 2 mile off the bluff (48' 32", 123' 13"). This maybe the species the transients were feeding on the other day.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Friday, June 10, 2005

Today started out a bit windy and rainy but ended with glorious sunshine and calm water. We watched a single transient in the morning (10:30) off 10-mile point until it reached Trial Island. Then a humpback whale appeared off the northwest end of Discovery Island and we followed it into the middle of Haro Strait (12:00). A report of 6 transients showed up about 3 miles off the northeast side of Discovery Island and we monitored the few boats with the whales (T20 and T21 group) until the end of the day. We watched them hunting and acquired a lung sample from one if their kills.
New M3 blog

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Friday, May 27, 2005

Today was my third day out on the water with Marine Mammal Monitoring (M3). It was a gorgeous sunny day with J pod. There were lots of breaches, spy hops, and a female had fun with a kelp mass breaking off form the group to have a little rub. I witness the same behaviour last year with the northern resident population as a baby pushed a kelp mass up with its head until a male headed over and they swam off together.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Today was my first day out on the water with M3. The whales were too far east and west but we went to Race Rocks and saw some pinnipeds, including Steller and California sea lions.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I am now located in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As the Marine Mammal Monitoring Biologist, I will be out on the water educating boaters about Whale-Watch Guidelines and conducting the Acoustic Monitoring Project.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I was interviewed yesterday, on camera for two hours, by Mountainside Films for their Luna Book.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Bob Hunter will be deeply missed.
Low frequency sonar is used by the US and UK to detect new ultra quiet submarines. These sound bursts are very loud at over 200dB. The low amplitude waves of energy travel long distances and are still very loud and harmful to marine mammals and humans over a 1oo miles away.
MMFN stewardship updates

Monday, April 25, 2005

A young gray whale, 2 to 3 years old, was found beached in Boundary Bay today and later swam back to the ocean with the high-tide and help from volunteers. The whale had lesions and showed signs of starvation but blood work revealed no infections. Grays whales are migrating back north from the breeding lagoons of Baja, California.

more on grays...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Learn more about Canada's Seal Hunt
I attended the Marine Mammal Regulation conference in Vancouver on Monday. If you have any ideas or concerns for the government to consider before these regulations are enforced you have until the end of the month to make comments to:

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Navy sonar tests may be responsible for over 70 deep-water rough-toothed, Steno bredanensis, dolphins beaching themslves in the Florida Keys. More than 20 dolphins have died, some have been led back to the ocean, and the rest have been moved to care units.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A newly discovered restricted small population of pink dolphins needs your help.

Monday, February 28, 2005

A group of Northern Residents, from G clan, visited Nootka Sound yesterday. It is believed that Luna heard them, though he didn't join them. It is very unlikely that Luna would join a group of killer whales from a completely different community. The fact that residents visited Nootka Sound suggests a completely natural reunion is possible for Luna. Luna's presence in Nootka Sound suggests Southern Residents also visit Nootka Sound. If Luna hears them they may reunite on their own.