The group of Jpod whales that had been in Saratoga Passage for the past few days was still there when we headed off the dock and we made our way back down beneath Deception Pass Bridge to meet up with them just south of Penn Cove. The whales were heading north when we got on scene and as they pushed off shore they began to roll around together and several breached, including Princess Angeline (J17) and Doublestuf (J34).
Princess Angeline (J17) belly flop.
Doublestuf (J34) belly flop.
With that other whales began to tail lob and spyhop. Oreo (J22) spyhopped a couple of times, followed by Tahlequah (J35) and Star (J46). One youngster, either Notch (J47) or Moby (J44), breached in the distance repeatedly as the whales continued pushing offshore before angling south. The two youngest calves, J53 and J54, were rolling around with their family. This would prove to be very special as J17 lifted her youngest kiddo, J53, on her back and exposed her belly, showing that J53 is a girl! I was able to snap a shot and sent that off to the Center for Whale Research for confirmation after the trip.
J53 nuzzles up to her older sister, Tahlequah (J35).
Once again lined up against the shoreline of Whidbey Island Doublestuf spyhopped twice and then began breaching as he moved south along with the rest of the whales. All of them were still extremely social. At no point during the encounter did the social behavior stop and no other behaviors, such as foraging or resting, were observed.
Doublestuf (J34) breaching along the Whidbey Island shoreline.
Doublestuf (J34) with one of the playful new calves.
Whales Present: J17, J28, J35, J44, J46, J47, J53, J54, J22, J34, and J38.