Thursday, May 03, 2007

The newest J Pod baby

-- by Dave

I was out on San Juan Island on Wednesday, conducting interviews for an upcoming feature story on whale watching for Seattle magazine. I happened to drop by at Lime Kiln State Park, where the watching can be spectacular in the summer but is much more sporadic the rest of the year. It was very quiet, but the rainy skies cleared out and those few of us there were just enjoying the sunshine.

All of a sudden, who should drop by but our old friends the J Pod, led by Ruffles and Granny. And who should be tagging along but the pod's newest member, a calf designated J42.

Its first official sighting: Wednesday at Lime Kiln. It was hanging with a female presumed to be its mother.

So here are a couple more shots of the little one:

There were several juveniles with the pod, including one who breached repeatedly near one of the whale-watching boats:

All in all, a very rewarding day. Welcome, J42: May you ply these waters for many more years.

UPDATE: Kari Koski of Soundwatch informs me that the calf's mother is J16, aka "Slick." This is Slick's fourth calf, which indicates a reasonably good likelihood of survival for J42 (firstborn calves are particularly susceptible to toxin transferrals from the mother's body fat). The Center for Whale Research has more.

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