What an amazing morning encounter with a Superpod & New Baby L122 right off Victoria!
We had got a call just before we departed on our 10am tour that many many Orcas had been spotted East of Race Rocks heading east. When we arrived on scene we could not believe our eyes as all 81 Southern Resident Orcas were spread out in the Strait of Juan De Fuca plus they had a brand new addition, L122, a new baby born to L91 It was a surreal experience to be surrounded by so many Orcas with hardly any boats on the water and with wonderful passengers! We also saw a Humpback Whale on our way to Race Rocks where we saw Seals, Sea Lions and the Sea Otter
In the afternoon we headed over to the West Side of San Juan Island and found the Orcas spread between Salmon Bank and Lime Kiln. We got to see several of the babies as well as J2 Granny, L87 Onyx, J34 DoubleStuf and many more.
Click on the following link for more images from this morning and afternoon;
Please see below for the official Center For Whale Research press release about the new Orca Baby L122 – Welcome little one
L122 – New Resident Orca Baby
CWR Press Release: New Calf in L pod! L122! Today there was another new baby in the L pod! L91 was first seen near Sooke, BC this morning with a very newborn calf, confirmed a few hours later by Mark Malleson off Victoria, BC and CWR staffers, Dave Ellifrit and Melissa Pinnow, and by colleagues Drs. John Durban, Holly Fearnbach, and Lance Barrett-Lennard. These latter colleagues happened to be in the area conducting a sequel to CWR aerial measurements of all of the SRKW’s (Southern Resident Killer Whales), this time with a very sophisticated hexacopter (Unmanned Aerial System – UAS, or drone). The measurements were accomplished on the US side of the border as Dave and Melissa took numerous identification photographs from the research vessel “Orca” at a respectful distance. The new calf is designated L122, and is the fifth new baby to come into the population since December, 2014. The mother and baby and other L pod whales spent the afternoon and evening in Haro Strait ‘fishing’, and by days end were joined by J and K pod members.
In the forty year history of ORCA SURVEY, a long-term photo-identification study of this whale population the greatest number of calves born in a year was 9 in 1977, and there were none born that survived in 2013 or 2014. We hope this year’s ‘baby-boom’ represents a turn-around in what has been a negative population trend in recent years. The new baby photographs and measurements will be forthcoming.