The whales were at Eagle Cove when we first got on scene this morning, which is an important foraging area for them, but they weren't foraging. These whales were headed north and seemed to have a purpose behind it. The first dorsal I saw belonged to an adult male, and from the shape and at a distance I thought we might have Onyx (L87) but we were in for a surprise! It was Mega (L41)! There were four whales in the general area all in close proximity but not traveling side-by-side. Mega was with his usual companion, Ocean Sun (L25), and his sister and niece, Matia (L77) and Joy (L119).
We let them pass us by because there were some more whales coming up behind them. It was the rest of the L12s---Calypso (L94) and her two kids, her daughter, Cousteau (L113) and son L121 (he was sexed on August 9th by CWR). The youngest of the three was as energetic as ever with tail slaps and rolling around as the trio continued after the rest of the matriline.
Mega (L41) is the oldest male in the SRKW community. He was born in 1977.
Eventually we moved back up to the whales we had been with before and found that the four had grouped up together along with Mystery (L85) and became much more tactile and social. They slowed down and were rolling around with each other in a way that looked very much like family bonding. And it wasn't surprising when we realized there were whales coming down from the north. J and K pods were headed towards them at a fast pace.
The L12s (including L85) grouped up and began socializing.
As the southbound whales began to appear Calypso and her kids caught up and L121 was just as playful as before. He spyhopped repeatedly and even spit water at the other two. It was so cute to see.
L121 spyhopping beside his mom and sister.
L121 surfacing beside his mom and sister.
The other whales began showing up from the north and in the lead was none other than Granny (J2)! The matriarch of J-pod led the way and as the whales mixed up together they got very social. There were breaches from several whales, including two from Granny herself!
Granny (J2) breaching.
The evening found the whales further north at Lime Kiln and further north. The L12s were headed south inshore and Mystery (L85) was traveling with Matia (L77). We didn't see everyone because they were very spread out but Mega (L41) and Ocean Sun (L25) were in the lead. The others were further inshore, and when I spoke with some friends who were at Lime Kiln later they confirmed that the rest of the L12s had been there as well.
We continued north and found two whales who normally travel with the L12s foraging near County Park. It was Spirit (L22) and her adult son, Solstice (L89). Spirit spyhopped several times as we were with them. The two were foraging at the beginning and then grouped up to swim side-by-side. Seeing them so close together was really beautiful. As we headed off Spirit spyhopped again and it was a beautiful parting shot.
Spirit (L22) spyhopping.
Off of Kellett Bluffs we found more whales still heading north. It was a mix of all three pods and they were being very social. It's always amazing (and wonderful) to me to see how tactile these whales are. They roll around and over each other, nuzzle each other, and more. It's something very special to me to be able to see. The whales were spyhopping, tail lobbing, and we even saw some pec slaps. They pushed off shore of Kellett and came right past us. It was then that I was able to see who we were visiting with.
This was actually the tail end of two whales spyhopping together.
As the whales passed we were able to ID them. This is Scoter (K25) and Nigel (L95).
We had the group of L-pod whales who have been spending quite a bit of time in inland waters lately, the L4s and L47s, including tagalong, Nigel (L95). He was swimming with adult male, Scoter (K25), from the K13s who were also present. We also saw the J14s and J17s. It was very interesting seeing this split as we didn't see the J22s (who are the other part of J-pod, Group B, along with the J17s) or any of the other whales that make up J-pod, Group A.
The heat was crazy on the water and the distortion was evident but the lighting was beautiful. The whales pushed further out into Haro and grouped up together, heading north.
Some of the K13s in the foreground and the L4s in the background traveling in Haro Strait.