Right from the start June was a busy month. The very low tides in the first week dictated that it was time to get the seasonal cameras in at the remote sites. The weather co-operated amazingly well and the crew was able to get down to and in and out of the site locations in Blackfish Sound and Johnstone Strait efficiently. First up was Flower Island in Blackfish Sound. This location has offered us wonderful views of humpbacks as well as the orcas as they arrive and depart. Besides, the camera has a view to some pretty glorious sunsets. The southeasterly prospect from OrcaLab itself denies sunset watching so this is a real treat. The installations in Johnstone Strait are much further away and demand lots of pre-planning. Work on the underwater camera installations starts early each day. The crew’s experience from past installations paid off and the work was completed successfully and everyone felt suddenly ready for summer!
Throughout June we received several reports of the Northern Residents who gave the impression they were getting ready too. Good news for Simoom’s family. Simoom’s daughter Rainy (A96) has a new baby. Starting around 19 June the gathering of the clans began on the north coast. At least the A4s, G2s and R5s chose this time to make their way toward Squally Channel. Five days later Holly’s family passed by the Fin Island research station headed northward. Then two days later Springer (A73) and her small family travelled near Prince Rupert with Surge’s family, the A25s. All this buzz fuelled our sense that it would not be long before the Northern Residents shifted our direction.
Meanwhile, we had Bigg’s orcas and a steadily increasing number of returning familiar humpbacks for company. On 1, 11, 22, 25, 26, 27 June we either saw or heard Bigg’s orcas in the area. Among the June humpbacks were Argonaut & Inukshuk returning from Hawaii and Mexico respectively, Guardian came with with her new baby, Ojos Blancos treated everyone to a display of breaches and a new humpback to us, Gibbous, showed up too.
June also brought the first volunteers to the island and we welcomed Naiomi, Barbara, Agathe, Paul. Mike Durban came to help with both the camera installations and help fix the aging bath house water system. Toward the end of June, Joel Mellish oversaw some of the technical aspects of the remote hydrophone systems.
All in all a very lovely month that lent itself to the promise of more to come.