UPDATE, Jan. 27, 2013
K pod has reached the mouth of the Columbia River for the second time since K-25 was darted with a satellite tag a month ago. To preserve the life of the transmitter battery, the data is now being sent less frequently. See Robin Baird’s update on Orca Network’s Facebook page.
UPDATE, Jan. 25, 2013
After dipping their dorsal fins into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, K pod turned back to the ocean, as we reported yesterday. This morning, they were still heading down the Washington Coast, approaching the Columbia River. See Robin Baird’s post for Brad Hanson.
UPDATE, Jan. 24, 2013
The orcas took another alternate route again. Instead of heading
on into the Salish Sea, K pod turned around in the Strait of Juan
de Fuca, not far from where we last reported them yesterday. As of
this posting, they are back in the ocean, near the mouth of the
strait, according to the
latest satellite data posted by Robin Baird of Cascadia
Research for Brad Hanson, NOAA’s principal researcher.
UPDATE, Jan. 23, 2013
Answering yesterday’s question about where K pod will go next, the orcas made a turn to the east and headed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, back toward the familiar waters of Puget Sound. Take a look at the latest map of the whales’ travels that Robin Baird posted on Orca Network’s Facebook page.
As of this morning, K pod was nearing Port Angeles. From there,
they could turn north toward Victoria and the San Juan Islands or
head into Admiralty Inlet on their way to Central Puget Sound.
K pod has made two interesting detours since Saturday, when the orcas returned to Washington state waters from the south, according to tracks generated by the K-25, who has been carrying a satellite transmitter for more than three weeks.
As the whales approached the Columbia River on Saturday, they took a sharp turn to the left and headed out to sea, reaching the edge of the continental shelf. Their failure to delay their travels at the mouth of the Columbia has been a surprise to those of us who assumed they would find salmon in the vicinity. See map on Orca Network’s Facebook page.
The whales then followed the edge of the shelf until they were offshore of Queets, where they began to move toward shore again.
The next question, as the whales approached the Strait of Juan de Fuca, was whether they would enter the strait and return to Puget Sound, continue past the strait along Vancouver Island or turn around and head south again. Their answer was a fourth course, veering sharply offshore into the open Pacific Ocean.
Robin Baird of Cascadia Research, who has been mapping the satellite data, reported that as of 7 a.m. today K pod was about 30 miles southwest of Cape Beale on the southwest side of Vancouver Island. That would put the pod about an equal distance from Cape Flattery at the northwest corner of Washington state.
Anyone wish to guess where these orcas will go from here?