Our morning scan of Haro Strait showed no whales and the hydrophones were quiet so we popped into town for breakfast and to stop in at The Whale Museum so I could get some art things I'm doing for them squared away. Of course as we're finishing breakfast I get a ping---whales headed towards the lighthouse NOW! Check paid! Food to go! We're on our way!
We get to the park in time to see one whale go cruising by. It was Cali (K34), the youngest offspring of Skagit (K13). He was calling as he went but something was off. He was alone. There were no other whales with him. What was going on?
Well in reality more whales weren't too far behind. Not ten minutes later the rest of the K13s went screaming past. Porpoising as fast as they could, as if they were catching up to young Cali. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what they were thinking or what was going on? It's a mystery I'll mull over for a good long while, I'm certain.
Spock (K20) passing the lighthouse, heading south presumably after Cali (K34).
More K-pod whales were to follow, if Lobo's (K26) fin was anything go by. His dorsal is tall, rounded and quite skinny compared to other males in the population.
After the K14s came some L-pod whales--including Surprise! (L86), her son Pooka (L106), and Muncher (L91). Then Moonlight (L83) and her son Midnight (L110). They cruised south at a steady pace, as if determined to get somewhere. But to keep me on my toes here came another tall, wobbly fin that seems to change every time I see it. From every angle he could be a different whale! It was Tika (K33)! Boy has he grown!
The chameleon, Tika (K33).
Behind him came a mix of Ls and Js. Offshore Kasatka (L82) and Finn (L116) were swimming with T'ilem I'nges (J49). Shachi (J19) surfaced inshore. All the whales were on a mission of some sort, moving south with a purpose. With Shachi were more of the L55s---Nugget (L55), Lapis (L103), and Takoda (L109). And then a quick glance up to see if Kasatka and Finn were still with young T'ilem I'nges showed not those three whales but one very special one---Granny (J2)! The matriarch of J-pod was pushing down island offshore with her presumed great-great grandson and great granddaughter, Hy'shqa (J37). Also offshore was Eclipse (J41) and her son J51.
The whale parade wasn't over yet though---the J16s were up next and those little flashes of orange brought a smile to my face. Here came two of our newest babies, J50 and J52. Mike came in to visit close to shore and he passed by.
Alki (J36) and her son, J52.
With those whales past and the rest continuing to swim south we headed for town. The whales (at least for the moment) seemed like they were pushing offshore towards Salmon and Hein Banks, hopefully to find some juicy salmon. I had errands to run and the back offices of The Whale Museum were both productive and fluffy. Fluffy? You ask. Why yes, there were many little foster kitties there to cuddle with and I probably would have stayed all day if not for the word that the whales seemed to be heading back north. Time to get back to the lighthouse!
It was to be an interesting mix of whales that came back by heading north that afternoon. The first whale we saw was matriarch Lea (K14), but the next whale wasn't one of her own kids but Shachi (J19). The two headed past the lighthouse going north before doubling back and tail lobbing as they went. Were they being playful? Were they sending a message? Hey, kids! Hurry up! They traveled back south to meet up with Eclipse (J41), J51, and Yoda (K36). Yoda was swimming closely with the young mother and her son and part of me wondered if this was her learning from Eclipse on how to be a successful mom. I hope so! The five whales moved north but were milling around, turning south again, then north, then south another time. Yoda stuck close with J51 until suddenly grandma Shachi was there and she and J51 stuck close to each other as the whales milled while deciding which way they really wanted to go.
Yoda (K36), J51, and Eclipse (J41)
J51 and grandma Shachi (J19)
Well the whales finally decided north was the way to go but they were going to do it with style and close to shore. The kelp was just too much fun to pass up! Here came Samish (J14) and her gang along with Granny (J2) and Onyx (L87). Nugget (L55) and her family along with Nigel (L95) also swam by, playing in the kelp as they went. There were so many tail lobs and pec slaps I couldn't even count them and Shachi followed it up with a huge breach! Of course I wasn't ready to capture it with my camera but I got to watch it in awe. Sometimes that's even better! The memory is burned in my brain.
Tail lobs galore!
And even though it's not the greatest video in the world here's a small part of that pass-by I caught on video. I hope you enjoy it!
Not all the whales that went south in the morning came back north. The J16s were noticeably absent. Where they showed up next only the future would tell.