What an encounter! We shot out from Victoria harbor and quickly found ourselves in the midst of a greeting ceremony when K Pod and L Pod met up with J Pod on the waterfront.
For the first time in a very long time, the whales were not interested so much in foraging but rather in socializing and inspecting the new calf, L1214. We witnessed several females all in a cluster with mom, L77, “Matia” and new calf, L124, in the middle.
Occasionally L77 would roll L124 down her back or she would send the calf airborne. It was fascinating to watch as members from L and J pod interacted with the calf, namely the L12s, J22, J26, J31 and J37.
We luckily spent most of our time with L pod though we had seen nearly ever member of J Pod too. K Pod was the furthest from us so we saw them from a distance and moved on. We were later able to see K22 “Sekiu” and K33 “Tika”.
It was an encounter I really can’t explain. The whales seemed relentless in their socializing, with a breach, spyhop or tail-slap always in view.
I will never forget the experience and I will cherish the memory forever. I wish the best for L124 and hope that this is just the beginning of a healthy year for the Southern Residents.
We did also have a special encounter with L25 “Ocean Sun”, who was logging at the surface and vocalizing above the water. Four of us decided to whistle loudly to see if she would be interested in the sound and she responded by blowing raspberries and bringing her chin above the water in an aerial scan.
We were able to see all 75 whales today, a true superpod. It was great to see some individual whales we don’t see often and also to see certain whales that we are particularly fond of.