I had been keeping track of whales in Saratoga for most of the day as I sat behind a computer monitor diligently working, looking outside at the beautiful weather wishing I was there when I got a message. Jpod. Saratoga Passage. Wait, what?! No IDs had been made all day and I, like many others, had just assumed the whales were of the marine mammal-eating variety. Not so! A good friend got photos that ID'ed members of Jpod and with that I was off. Work was over and I had a mighty desire to see just who was cruising to the south of me. Plus I hadn't seen Jpod at all this year and I had yet to meet the new calves in the J17s!
After dealing with traffic I arrived at a friend's house just south of Penn Cove in time to see the whales cruise by, about a mile offshore. Through binoculars (and later my camera lens) I could see we had members of two matrilines, the J17s and J22s. That meant we had eleven whales total---one (almost) adult male, one sprouter male, four adult females, three juveniles (two males, one female), and the two calves (the newest members of Jpod!).
Members of Jpod swimming south in Saratoga Passage.
As we lost sight of them we hurried ahead to the next viewpoint and scurried out to the end of a pier in time to see them again, this time closer! The first two whales I saw were Polaris (J28) and her youngest--and the newest member of Jpod and the entire SRKW community--J54! Just recently it was announced that J54 is a boy, so Polaris has both a daughter, seven year-old Star (J46), and a son.
Polaris (J28) and her newest calf, son J54.
Next came two big fins, and I was really only expecting one! Doublestuf surfaced with his brother, Cookie (J38), and even though I had seen photos of Cookie recently I still couldn't believe just how much he's grown! His fin is HUGE! While only time will tell I wouldn't be surprised if, when all is said and done, he's bigger than his older brother.
The water was so glassy and Mount Baker was showing in the background. It was such a beautiful night and it was about to get better. The whales grouped up together and I spotted Princess Angeline (J17) with her new kiddo, J53, as well as the rest of the whales from both matrilines. They weren't in a hurry and seemed to be content in the glassy conditions with no boats around. It really was a peaceful evening.
One of the new calves surfaces beneath Mount Baker.
As the whales continued south they grouped up together. What a sight!
Whales Present: J17, J28, J35, J44, J46, J47, J53, J54, J22, J34, and J38.