Saturday, April 30, 2011

One more "whale" blog

Actually, these are Shamu's or Willy's relatives: Orcas or Killer Whales. They're really just huge mean dolphins or porpoises because they have teeth.

There are about 3 groups with special things they like to eat. And apperantly they have been doing it for so many hundreds of years, that the groups are genetically identifiable as different.

"Transient" ones live far out to sea and like to eat their smaller porpoise cousins; but a recent article in Alaska Magazine talks about how some gang up on giant Gray Whales to feast on them. Other groups or pods like to eat just salmon and other fish. And some like to stay close to land and eat local sea life: otters, seals, and sea lions are specially tasty to them.

This group sure likes to come into the harbor in Spring. Our sea lions take notice. They wake up, jump in the water, and a few "brave" ones swim out and start barking at them...similar to what they do when I get too close to them when kayaking.

Here some sea lions I photographed last Autumn, coming to "protect" their water.

So, if you where a whale with teeth and saw a 500 to 1,000 pounder like this come up to you and bark in you face, what would you think?

Apparently, Orcas think, "Lunch!".

This reminds me of my favorite quote form the Forest Gump movie:
"Stupid is as stupid does!"

Monday, April 25, 2011

Are these guys illegal?

Talking about whales, while in vacation in Mexico I struck up a conversation with a local. Discussions ran to where we where form.

Here is one of his comments: "You know, those whales you like so much in Alaska are born just outside of my city. How come you don't consider them illegal aliens?"

I tired to change the subject. "Good thing they don't travel through Arizona!", plugged in the Mexican.

Anyway, can you tell which is the Mexican and which is the Kodiak whale?

Whales close up

Above I included a close up of a whale's tail, taken by Pam Foreman, not me!

I think I mentioned last Summer that on July 4th I looked out my window, saw a whale in Mill Bay and decided to go get some close up pictures.

Got my kayak and paddled about 100 yards form where it was. Suddenly I see its tail come out of the water. It was as wide as the length of the 12 foot inflatable Zodiac boat that was fishing for salmon.

This reminded me what the natives say about another big animal: "You must respect the bear!" They say this over and over again.

When I saw that tail, I suddenly re-interpreted their comments to mean: "They're a lot bigger than you are. So keep out of their way!"

A Killer Whale is 9 tons. Gray Whales weigh 30 tons. My kayak weighs 59 pounds.

So, I paddled back to shore and decided to let others photograph them close up.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kodiak's Whale Fest 2011

We've just returned from travelling in the Southwest. Got to get a little sunshine sometime, you know.

So we missed out on the 15th annual Kodiak Whale Fest. It is about 2 weeks when the whole city gets excited about the return of the Gray Whales to our waters. Lots of lectures, educational movies, hikes to points to see the whales, and even art shows related to sea life.

Take a gander at the reported whale sightings:

and a website talking about what is going on:

Here is this year's emblem:
designed by 10th grade art students at Kodiak High School:

See you here next year, for the 2012 Whale Fest!