Monday, July 31, 2006
In gorgeous weather, aboard the Ocean Magic II’s noon trip, we found the L12 matriline off False Bay, San Juan Island. The 73 year old matriarch Alexis / L12 was seen with sprouting male Mystery / L85 off False Bay, San Juan Island. Another young male, Solstice / L89, surprised the passengers with a big breach and splash beside the vessel. The whales were echolocating and a young male chased fish along the surface. In the afternoon we headed further north to meet up with J pod as they rounded Turn Point, Stuart Island. On route we stopped in Oak Bay to view the harbour seals hauled out on some rocks with a nearby bald eagle keeping watch. When we arrived on scene with the whales we found them speed porpoising south toward Lime Kiln lighthouse, San Juan Island, and using calls to maintain group cohesion. Blackberry / J27 was identified and Princess Angeline / L17 was seen with her two daughters Polaris / J28 and Tahiequah / J35.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
The noon trip on the Ocean Magic II lead us out west to meet up with members of L pod. As we watched the whales near the Sooke Basin the animals changed direction and headed back out west through the swells of the open ocean. We stopped at Race Rocks, on the way home, to view the Steller sea lions and harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. On the afternoon trip we found J and K pods with a few members of L pod mixed in heading north off San Juan Island. The few rain showers lifted creating a beautiful end to a spectacular day with the whales.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
On the noon Ocean Magic II trip we met up with J pod heading south along San Juan Island. Polaris-J28, a 13 year-old female, and Blackberry-J27, a 14 year-old sprouting male, were identified. During the afternoon trip we found J pod had changed direction to the north nearing Stuart Island and some of the animals picked up speed proposing along the shoreline. The J16 matriline were milling about further offshore, Slick-J16 was seen were her offspring Mike-J26 and seven year old Aiki-J36. The backdrop of Mount Baker against Turn Point, Stuart Island, made for spectacular views at the end of a wonderful day.
Monday, July 24, 2006
L79-Skana and L78-Gaia
On today’s noon trip we found the L12 matriline heading slowly north off False Bay, San Juan Island. The whales grouped up into a resting line and L41-Mega was identified. On our way back west we found more of L pod heading inshore toward the rest of the whales. It was nice to see them breaching against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains in the calm-blue waters of Juan de Fuca Strait. On the afternoon trip we met up with L pod again now heading south along San Juan Island. The animals were more active with tail lobs, speed porpoises, and more breaches from a younger animal. On the way home we stopped to show the children onboard the fascinating bull kelp in our waters. Kelp forests grow predominantly on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to the waters of Baja California. The average growth rate of bull kelp is 10 cm/day (~4 inches/day). Kelp forests provide food and shelter for fish and shellfish. Marine mammals can feed in the kelp beds looking for the many species of fish and invertebrates taking refuge in the kelp forest. Sea otters play a critical role in the stabilizing forest equilibrium. Sea urchins eat the young shoots of the kelp and can destroy the forests. Sea otters prey on these urchins and therefore maintain healthy kelp ecosystems.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
The noon trip on OMII brought us near Henry Island, San Juan Islands. There we found southern resident K pod, spread out, proposing south. Georgia / K11 was seen milling about the area. She is the only daughter of matriarch Lummi / K7, the oldest whale of the southern resident community at an estimated age of 96 years old. K38 was seen traveling at high speed with mom Spock / K20. Cappuccino / K41 was identified further offshore than the rest of the pod.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
On morning Ocean Magic II trip we found Dall’s porpoises in Haro Strait. We then headed over to Henry Island were J pod was heading north. The subgroups were traveling slowly and a few logged, rested, at the surface. Spieden / J18 the 63 year old matriarch was further out in the mid channel. Shachi / J19 and her year old calf J41 traveled closer to shore. On the noon trip we found J and K pods along North Pender Island milling about and foraging. Cappuccino / K21 an adult male and Lobo / K26 a spouting male were sighted. On the afternoon trip we had reports of J’s and K’s heading east through Active Pass. We decided to go for the extra long trip as the weather was clam and we were making good time. The anticipation grew and was well worth the wait as we entered Georgia Strait we could see the whales breaching and proposing in the very calm water. On the way home we stopped off at Trail Island to assist with a UBC water quality sampling project.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
A gorgeous morning on the Ocean Magic II led us into the epic waters of Rosario Strait. There we found J and K pods breaching off Bird Rock as they headed southwest though the channel. The whales foraged and several high-speed fish chases were witnessed at the surface. On the noon trip the whales were off middle Bank heading north up Haro Strait. The whales were spread out in small groups with J1 / Ruffles out in mid channel. We then stopped off Discovery Island and viewed the young harbour seals, eagles, and turkey vultures in the area. On the afternoon trip we found K and J pods further north off San Juan Island. Some whales were just offshore breaching several times at the end of the day.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Today on the Ocean Magic II we met up with the L12’s in Juan de Fuca Strait. The whales were heading out west through the peaks of the choppy sea. The groups were spread out, foraging, and were going on long dives. The 76 year old matriarch, Alexis / L12, and adult male Mega / L41 were identified. Alexis a grandmother of three offspring (Mega / L41, Matia / L77, and Calypso / L94) lead the group. The mother of these whales, L11, went missing during the winter of 2000 / 2001. L pod spends more time in the western waters of Juan de Fuca Strait than either J or K pods. The whales then joined up into a resting line and headed out west into the distance.