This report comes with a warning. Watching whales can be a full contact sport. Sometimes that contact is with the ground. Always watch where you put your feet.
Departing Snug Harbor we headed south to almost Salmon Bank to meet up with the J16s who were the only SRKWs in inland waters. This family of six seemed to be pretty busy foraging as we got on scene. They were spread out in ones and twos with lots of quick changes and high-arching dives. Even the youngest, Sonic (J52), was off on his own and seemed to be chasing a fish.
After a time the whales began to slowly group up. Alki (J36) collected Sonic and breached off our starboard side. The two headed over to meet up with Mike (J26) who had been off on his own and the three slowly began their way up island.
Alki (J36) breaching.
Mike (J26) heading up island.
As they did Slick (J16) met up with her two youngest daughters, Echo (J42) and Scarlet (J50). Mom still wasn't done foraging and the sisters buzzed by our boat as they went to catch up with her. Scarlet was feeling especially spunky and rolled over on her side as she passed right by us. With that she zipped ahead to catch up with big sister, Echo, and gave a couple tail lobs. Eventually the two met up with mom and all three also began heading north. Echo breached in the distance, once, twice, three times.
Slick (J16) and Scarlet (J50).
Scarlet (J50) tail lob.
After getting back to the dock I hurried down to Lime Kiln and that's my inevitable "whale watching is a full contact sport" comment came into play. As the whales approached I took a wrong step and tumbled down on the ground, hitting my face and gaining a giant goose egg and in the coming week a pretty terrific (if I do say so myself) black eye. But it was worth it for my first Lime Kiln whales of the season. They foraged a bit in front of the lighthouse before continuing north.
Slick (J16) and Scarlet (J50) from Lime Kiln, post fall.
And in case you were wondering what my black eye looked like after a week and a half and how I coped with having to "take it easy" while recuperating....
I laid on the floor of my cubicle and iced my right eye while looking at the whale pictures on my desk with my left. ;)