The "Odyssey", a San Juan Excursions whale watching boat, caught up with this matriline again today near False Bay, as they foraged for Chinook salmon. The L22 matriline is made up of only three members now: Spirit L22, and her two sons named Skana L79, and Solstice L89. I thought in this blog post we could take a closer look at the story of the L22's and the members of this matriline that could be seen with these three orcas in the past. We will look at this entire matriline from the point of Spirit L22.
Once Olympia was gone, Spirit and her family continued on, but Onyx started traveling with an elder female in K pod called Lummi K7 (est.1910-2008). The two would hang out for awhile, Onyx right in her slipstream, but when K and L pod went their separate ways, Onyx would rejoin Spirit and the rest of his family. This was interesting because often when an orca loses its mother it will travel with its other family members. But Onyx surprised us all and continued spending time with Lummi until, instead of leaving Lummi when it was time to go, he stayed with her. From then on Onyx spent all of his time with K pod. It seems that Onyx had adopted Lummi or had she had adopted him?
Spirit has had four siblings during her life time but only one, Onyx, is still alive. Spirit is the oldest of Olympia's offspring, and her other siblings were two brothers named Leo L44 (1974-1998), and Scotia L63 (1984-1995) and one sibling named Disney L56 (1978-1981) who was never sexed.
She had one aunt named Misky L28 (est.1949-1994), and three cousins but only one is left, a male named Mystery L85, born in 1991. Spirit's other cousins were Dylan L38 (est.1965-1998), and Summer L69 (1984-1985). Mystery is kind of like Onyx in a way but instead of changing pods, he changed matrilines. After Mystery lost his mother, Misky, in 1994, he was raised his older brother Dylan until 1995, when Alexis (est.1933-2012) came along and together she and Dylan took care of Mystery. Three years later, Dylan passed away at just thirty three years old, and for the next fourteen years, until Alexis passed away in 2012 at an estimated age of seventy nine, Mystery and Alexis stuck together, traveling with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mystery can still be seen with Alexis' family to this day.
Spirit had her first calf, a daughter named Panda L75 in 1986 but she died in 1993. She went on to have two more children, sons Skana L79, who was born in 1989, and Solstice L89, born in 1993.
What will the future hold for the Southern Resident orcas? With many threats that can knock out reproductive females and calves, we can help the Southern Resident matrilines have a fighting chance by changing our ways.