With the L12s back in town, I met the Center for Whale Research's Dave Ellifrit at Snug Harbor and we headed out on the water under permit to see them. We headed down Haro Strait and arrived on scene with Spirit L22 and her adult son Solstice L89 just a little North of Pile Point. The two were pointed South but were also milling about in their search for Chinook/King salmon. We could see a few more orcas to the South of us so we headed on down and identified them as Notch J47 and Tahlequah J35. Even further South was Mega L41, Ocean Sun L25, and inshore of them, Cousteau L113. Ocean Sun L25 then shot South towards Eagle Point where we came upon Calypso L94 and her new calf L121 (born in February of 2015) who were also headed South. L121’s older sister, Cousteau L113 soon joined them and Ocean Sun L25 and Mega L41 continued South past them. There was some occasional porpoising from Cousteau L113 and L121 as they traveled and L121 practiced a tail slap.
Then, Echo J42 and her new younger sister J50 (born in December of 2014!) joined Calypso L94, Cousteau L113, and L121 just a little North of Eagle Point and the five of them played/socialized together for a bit. Echo J42 and Cousteau L113 surfaced side by side in unison a few times and the two calves darted around together. Cousteau L113 also tail slapped a few times and so did J50. Echo J42 then began pushing and lifting J50 out of the water, which caused J50 to make an excited little squeak!
We then headed offshore into rougher water and found adult males Blackberry J27 and Mystery L85, as well as Matia L77 and her young daughter Joy L119 (who I named!) as they headed South. Mike J26 was also nearby but he moved inshore and inverted tail slapped at one point. Blackberry J27 and Mystery L85 interacted and surfaced together a few times and Joy L119 was super playful as per usual with multiple tail slaps, pectoral fin slaps, dorsal fin slaps, a spy hop, a cartwheel, and a big aerial scan!
We then headed inshore for a bit and found Polaris J28 and her young daughter Star J46 Northbound off of South Beach. Echo J42 and J50 then reappeared near us with Slick J16 and the three were soon joined by Alki J36, her new son J52 (born in March of 2015!), Calypso L94, Cousteau L113, and L121. They all then turned and aimed North. We now had a social group that contained three out of the four new Southern Resident orca calves and it was crazy! Again, J50 was pushed around at the surface, but this time it was by her mother, Slick J16. Cousteau L113 tail slapped again, someone did an inverted tail slap, and Slick J16 did a big spy hop.
When Solstice L89 reached the leaders of Group A and the K14s, he greeted Samish J14 and her young son Se-Yi'-Chn J45 as they headed South past him before he continued North. Calypso L94, L121, and Spirit L22 soon arrived after porpoising up from the South and inshore, we could see Lobo K26 and a few others Southbound. Mystery L85 made a reappearance from the North but soon passed us and headed for False Bay. Samish J14 and Se-Yi'-Chn J45 then turned around and joined up with Hy'shqa J37, Ti'lem I'nges J49, Calypso L94, Cousteau L113, and L121 to roll around and socialize briefly. Se-Yi'-Chn J45 showed curiosity in L121 and followed the calf around and one point, Calypso L94 logged at the surface, repeatedly making L pod calls above the water! While Calypso L94 was above water vocalizing, L121 stayed next to her and even did a little spy peep! Then, Samish J14, Hy'shqa J37, Se-Yi'-Chn J45, and Ti'lem Inges J49 left Calypso L94 and her kids to head South. Ti'lem I'nges J49 gave a breach and a tail slap as they separated.
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