The whales have really been making the most of some of their core foraging habitat in the past few days, spending hours in the same area near Eagle Point. I hope they're finding plenty to eat.
As we cruised through the inner islands out to the west we stopped in to check out some new harbor seal pups with their moms at Willow Island. The little one in the water was having a heck of a time trying to get up. His little flipper hanging tight to mom as she leveraged herself out in an apparent attempt to show him how it was done. After getting out she looked back to her pup who was still trying unsucessfully and then slid back in. Her pup got onto her back and away they went as the other pair looked on.
Harbor seal mom shows her pup how to haul out. Or tries to.
We headed south through Upright Channel and this gave me a good chance to take a look at Goose Island, which I had written about in an earlier post. The island had been set ablaze by an errant (and illegal!) firework and had burned for more than a week, destroying nests. It's slowly recovering, some birds are still there, some nests even survived, but it was such a horrible thing to happen in the midst of nesting season.
Goose Island with Cattle Point Lighthouse in the background.
The first three whales I saw were Samish (J14), Granny (J2), and Lea (K14). Those three whales gave us a good clue of who else we would be looking for---J-pod group A and the K14s at least. This configuration of matrilines has seemed to be a common thing this summer so far.
Lea gave a few lazy tail lobs as she dove, continuing with the other matriarchs down island. Next up came two of the J14 kids---Se-Yi-Chn (J45) and his older sister, Suttles (J40). The two were goofing off together with lots of splashing and a couple of lazy half breaches. In shore of them were the J19s---and little J51 was breaching, spyhopping, and tail slapping like crazy.
J51 attempting a back dive in front of his mom, Eclipse (J41).
J51 back dive. You can clearly see he is a 'he'.
As the J19s continued down island J51 would peel off and head back north, showing off his independence. His grandma, Shachi (J19) would turn around and go collect her grandson, before the two rejoined Eclipse (J41). It was quite interesting to watch the family dynamic and what I wouldn't give to know what was exchanged between them.
Inshore from the J19s were the J14s with J2 and the K14s. Granny (J2), Lea (K14), Samish (J14), and Hy'shqa (J37) were leading the way with the larger group behind them. The trailing group consisted of Lobo (K26), Yoda (K36), Kelp (K42), Se-Yi-Chn (J45), Suttles (J40), and T'ilem I'nges (J49). They were rolling around, tail lobbing, there were a couple of spyhops, and then Yoda breached twice. It really looked like the kids were hanging back to goof off while the moms got some "me time".
Lobo (K26), an upside down whale, and Yoda (K36).
Yoda (K36) breaching.
As we slowly worked off scene Samish poked her head up in an aerial scan. I'm not going to say she was looking to make sure the kids were still following, but I'm not going to say she wasn't either.
Samish (J14) takes a look around.