Encounter #7

2021.4.3


Location: Monterey


ID: CA140Bs, CA23A2, CA113s

Absolutely amazing day today observing orcas for 9 hours! We saw 11 whales all together - first the CA140Bs, CA23A2, and the CA113s! We then received a report of a second group and IDed them as CA10 and some of the CA23s! The first group was traveling slowly for a lot of the day, but the best part was when they started resting and “cuddling” with each other in a “cuddle puddle!” The young ones were rolling around, lifting their heads out of the water, and rubbing against the adults - an amazing and intimate moment.

Video by Colleen

 

The CA140Bs are led by CA140B “Louise,” one of our smallest adult females. She has a distinctive small nick in the middle of her dorsal fin and she is ~19 years old. Louise has 3 kids: CA140B1 "Stinger” who is roughly 8 years old, CA140B2 “Bee” who is around 4 years old, and CA140B3 “Buzz” who is about 1 year old. Louise's mom, CA140 "Emma", is one of our most experienced and skilled gray whale calf hunters. Emma is one of our larger females, named for the E or M-shaped notches in the middle of her dorsal fin. She and Louise travel in separate groups—Emma with Louise’s two younger siblings and Louise with her 3 offspring—but they often will be spotted together having a type of “family reunion.”

 

This situation is normal for Bigg's transient killer whales: females typically stay with their Moms until they have 1-2 calves of their own, then they leave to form their own new matriline. Emma wasn’t seen on Sunday but we hope to see her soon!