These beautiful golden flowers (daffodils) announce the coming of Spring. The lambs are frolicking, humming birds returning and the fields are carpeted with bright green grass. Our island is so spectacular it is difficult to describe. Anyone who has traveled to this northern corner of the state, will be unable to forget all they have experienced here.
New Orca Whale Spotted Off The Coast of Washington – This is the Third Calf Born to These Endangered Orcas!
2.27.15 NOAA Fisheries West Coast – Science & Management
New L pod calf!!
Dr. Brad Hanson gives us this latest news from the orca research cruise as well as an update on location of L pod:
25 February update – We were about 15 miles west of Westport this morning when we resighted the whales and observed a new calf – L94 appears to be the mother. To recap since our previous posting, on 23 February we were off Cape Lookout, Oregon following the whales north. Yesterday, we continued following the whales north past the mouth to the Columbia River. Since L84 was tagged a week ago we have been with all of K pod but only part of L pod.
On 23 February Jon Scordino with Makah Fisheries sent us photos taken on 20 February of L25 off Cape Flattery, which indicated another part of L pod was in the general area.
This morning, shortly after we launched our Zodiac we observed L41, part of the group that includes L25, indicating that another group of L pod had joined up overnight – this is first time we have documented pods reuniting on the outer coast.
Fortunately the whales were very grouped up and within a few minutes we observed the new calf – with its unique orange-ish color on the white areas. The calf looked very energetic. We have five more days on the cruise and look forward to additional observations of the calf and collecting additional prey and fecal samples.
On a windless, cloudless night in late January, Salish Sea ecologist Russel Barsh and his team of scientists at the Kwiáht biology lab scoured Indian Island for sea stars. No humans live on what is technically the island, a tiny bit of rock just south of Eastsound on Orcas Island, but the winter low tide reveals a colorful variety of the island’s other inhabitants: violently mating sea slugs, dazzling red octopuses, reptilian-looking snail fish, and the island’s famous sea stars—one as big as a yard wide—that have traditionally feasted on the mussels and clams hidden in the sand.
Indian Island’s sea star population—like other sea star hangouts up and down the West Coast—experienced a swift and mystifying die-off that inspired alarmist headlines in 2014. Marine biologists looked on with horror as appendages of the keystone species—a species that plays a fundamental role in its ecosystem—washed ashore. But this year, Barsh and his crew found something hopeful: hundreds of sea stars, babies, mostly. And healthy, from the looks of it.
The discovery, which other sea star monitoring sites have also documented, is a big deal. Barsh and his colleagues, a scrappy team of conservationists who have been hyper-focused on Salish Sea ecology since 2006, were specifically looking to see whether Indian Island’s sea star population would make a comeback. To some extent, it did.
“At this point, at worst we’re at less than 1 percent morbidity, no bits and pieces [of sea stars] like we saw last summer,” Barsh told me after the January survey. “Now the question is how many of the little guys we’re seeing will be lost to predation and disease this year.”
Barsh has reason to be cautiously optimistic, or optimistically cautious. Other monitoring sites have picked up on the explosion of new, healthy-appearing babies and the absence of adults. But just because the babies look healthy now doesn’t mean that they won’t get sick. And just because there are lots of them at present doesn’t mean they’ll survive into adulthood
Chef Jay Blackinton, 26, of Orcas Island taught himself to cook by preparing large meals for his punk friends in Seattle. Now, he’s nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation – the Oscars for food. His restaurant, Hogstone’s Wood Oven, cooks food sourced exclusively from the island and is only two years old.
He raises his pigs, grows his vegetables and digs his clams. But he’s not sure exactly what to make of his newfound recognition.
To start, give me some background on how you got to where you are.
I grew up [on Orcas Island] off and on with my grandparents. Then I left home when I was 15. I decided I really needed to get off of the island and decided to strike out on my own and move to Seattle.
I got involved with the punk scene, just being a scumbag [Laughs]. Then I became a bike messenger and, while doing that, I started leaving in the summers to go back up to Orcas to work at Camp Orkila.
Eventually I got to the point with the city where I really had to move and get out of the city. A big reason for that was food in fact. I was, at the time, a vegan.
Make your lodging reservations now so you don’t miss out on the Fifth Annual Orcas Island Cider & Mead Festival.
This fundraiser benefiting the Orcas Island Farm-to-Cafeteria Program is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 27 at the Eastsound Village Green alongside the Saturday farmers market. Hard cider and mead producers from California to Canada will be pouring samples as well as selling product for take-home.
During the week food and cider pairings will be featured at local restaurants. Be sure to make your ferry and lodging reservations early. Read more about this event at www.orcasislandciderfest.org or on Facebook.
A new addition to the resident J pod, has brought the pod’s population to 26 orca whales. J51 was spotted the morning of February 12 swimming between the presumed mother, J19, and ten-year-old sister, J41. The new baby orca whale appeared healthy and less than a week old at the time of sighting.
The Center for Whale Research reports:
“After spending the past two weeks near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, J pod finally came back into the interior Salish Sea waters and showed off another brand new baby whale to the few observers that braved the mist and light rain and watched the whales swim by from land and from vessels at respectful distance.”
Saturday, August 2, 2014, 9am – 3pm @ The Port of Orcas Park – North Beach Road and Mt Baker Road
Annual car show in conjunction with the EAA Annual Fly In. Make a weekend of it, see some beautiful cars and planes. Enter your car for a suggested $20 donation which goes towards a vocation scholarship for an Orcas Island Student.
July 6th at the Eastsound Fire Station = Mount Baker Road
Come enjoy our famous smoked salmon, backed potato, slaw, roll and drink. Follow it with a piece of homemade apple crisp. This is our 38th year of cooking the salmon with our secret recipe. All proceeds go back to the community for sight and hearing projects.