June 5th – After 22 days absence, our Southern Residents returned. They were heard on the hydrophones at dawn and the calls included those of L pod. This is their first visit to the Salish Sea this year. We scrambled – the last day of 3 consecutive full day sails for our passengers from the UK who were here following a lifelong dream of seeing whales in the wild.
We saw events we’ve never seen… Approaching Lime Kiln Point, L92 Crewser, made a sudden turn and charged towards northbound transient orcas, T60 and T60C, who had just made a kill of a harbor seal in front of a crowd at Lime Kiln Lighthouse. The L47’s, including new calf, L122, surfaced as a tight group after a brief dash towards the T’s. The 2 transients porpoised away and continued at high speed to meet the rest of the T60 family plus T2B north of Kelp Reef. Per the Center for Whale Research, “In 2007, the T60’s and T2B were briefly chased by about half of J pod before porpoising out of the area. ”
Also today was our first sighting of newest L pod member, L123, born end of 2015 to first time mom, L103 who became a mom at age 12.
Rhinoceros auklets in flight
Newest calf of L pod, L123 with mom L103
L103 with her first calf, L123
Orcas exciting folks at Lime Kiln Point State Park aka “Whale Watch Park”
Passing the cliffs north of Lime Kiln Point State Park
L118, Jade, breaches near Kellett Bluff
L55 with L118 along Kellett Bluff. L118 was doing tail lobs continuously throughout the day
L118, Jade, with another tail lob
3 generations in the L55 matriline
L103 with her calf, L123
Great blue herons
L90 Ballena with L92 Crewser heading down island just before he charged at the transient orcas going north in Haro Strait
Transient orcas T60 and T60C cruising up Haro Strait just after killing a seal at Lime Kiln Point State Park in front of dozens of onlookers. This photo was taken moments before the Residents charged in their direction.
T60 and T60C porpoising away from the Resident orcas. They joined up with the rest of their family to the north of Kelp Reef.
T60 and T60C high speed porpoising away from the Resident orcas.
L47 and family with a sudden direction change towards the transients orcas
L91 Muncher with her baby boy, born 2015, joining in the frenzy to chase of the transients
After a brief moment of excitement, all the L47s continued back on course down island as a tight group.
We left the resident orcas to check out the transients, T60’s and T2B, who were near Halibut Island
T60’s and T2B on the Canadian side of Haro Strait
T60’s cruising alongside the shore of Mandarte Island
Cormorant Colony on Mandarte Island, Canada
Pelagic Cormorant flying towards the colony up on the rocky cliff
Mandarte Island – Cormorant colony on the cliff face
T60’s and T2B
Looking towards Turn Point Lighthouse, Lovers Leap, and Mount Baker
Reflections of Spieden Island while drifting through New Channel enjoying supper cooked by Capt David
Black Oyster Catcher
Canadian Geese headed for Canada
Sunset Sail South down San Juan Channel