We Love This Coast

#StopKinderMorgan – Standing Up for Our Precious Coast – #welovethiscoast #OrcasNotTankers

Leave a comment

Centre for Whale Research Friday Harbour, Washington

The Center for Whale Research is dedicated to the study and conservation of the Southern Resident killer whale (Orca) population in the Pacific Northwest.

42 years of WHALE RESEARCH


For over four decades, the Center for Whale Research has been conducting annual photo-ID (photo-identification) studies of Southern Resident killer whales – one of the most magnificent and beloved animal populations in the world. Our long-term research has generated unprecedented baseline information on the whales’ population dynamics, health, demography, social structure, and individual life histories. Thanks to the Center’s research, more detail is known about the endangered Southern Resident killer whales than any other group of marine mammals in the world.  As a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, our mission is to facilitate the recovery of this beloved population of Orcas through non-invasive scientific study, public awareness and education, and conservation action.

Please help this committed group of orca lovers!

Please visit the site here …………

1 Comment

Oil tankers threaten endangered orcas, two tribes say in lawsuit against U.S. Coast Guard

Already-endangered killer whales in the waters west of Seattle face heightened risk from an increased traffic of tankers that will carry oil from Kinder Morgan’s $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, two Native American organizations claim in a federal lawsuit.


Mark Malleson/The Center for Whale Research via AP An orca whale pokes her head upward while swimming in the Salish Sea near the San Juan Islands, Wash.

 Andrew Harris, Bloomberg News | April 27, 2017 – National Post.com

The U.S. Coast Guard failed to ensure the black-and-white whales known as orcas won’t be decimated by increased shipping traffic or oil spills as it’s required to do under the Endangered Species Act, according to the tribes’ complaint filed Tuesday in Seattle.

“Exporting oil will trigger a seven-fold increase in the number of oil tankers transiting the waters of the Salish Sea,” the tribes said. That sea is comprised of the waterways surrounding the Vancouver Island archipelago, including the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound. “These approximately 400 tankers will carry approximately 300,000,000 barrels (over 12.5 billion gallons) of oil through these waters every year.”


An orca whale breaches in view of Mount Baker in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash.  Photo credit: Elaine Thompson/AP

The tribes are seeking a court order compelling the Coast Guard to meet its obligations under the act to implement “traffic separation schemes” that will minimize jeopardy to the whales and to their habitat within a set time frame.

Filing the suit are Tulalip Tribes and the Suquamish Tribe — once led by Chief Seattle — for whom orcas are “interwoven” into harvesting, cultural and spiritual practices, according to the complaint.

Kinder Morgan isn’t a defendant in the lawsuit, which targets the U.S. Coast Guard. Richard Wheatley, a company spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. Justice Department spokesman, Wyn Hornbuckle, said the suit is being reviewed and declined to comment further.

The project won regulatory approval in British Columbia in January — after getting the go-ahead from Canada’s federal government. Kinder seeks to begin work on the expansion, which will more than double the existing line’s capacity and extend its reach, later this year.

Native American tribes and organizations are also pursuing federal lawsuits challenging TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline path in Montana and the Energy Transfer Partners-led Dakota Access pipeline project in North Dakota.

See article here……….

Leave a comment

Tributes are flowing for the worlds oldest killer whale granny

Tributes are flowing for the world’s oldest known killer whale, known as Granny, who was presumed dead by scientists as 2017 ticked over.

Pickle.nine by Dannielle Maguire   January 4, 2017

Thought to have been born in 1911 – a year before the Titanic sank – Granny has not been seen with her pod since October.

Known as a devoted grandmother by researchers, this absence has led them to believe she has since passed away.

                                                                         She is pictured here with her son, Ruffles, in 2010.

Granny, who was known to biologists as J2, was the star of a BBC documentary about whales and menopause, teaching scientists a thing or two about the power of supportive familes in ensuring survival.

Killer whales are among only three species of mammals which experience menopause, with the others being short-finned pilot whales and humans.

Hailing from the North Pacific Ocean close to Canada, Granny was a popular personality of the water.

“She leaps clear out of the ocean to delighted gasps from everyone on my boat,” BBC journalist Victoria Gill wrote in August.

But sadly, this may have been among one of the old girl’s last appearances.

As news broke of her death, fans of the sea-dwelling centenarian took to Twitter to say their goodbyes.

Leave a comment

2016 Has been the deadliest year for orca whales

Orca enthusiasts gathered on the shores of Seattle’s Akli Beach Tuesday evening to hold a candlelight vigil for those lost over the past year.

By Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest.com Writer   | December 28, 2016


2016 has been the deadliest year for orcas in the Northwest in nearly two decades. (Capt. Michael Colahan – Island Adventures and Pangea Pictures)

That’s because 2016 has been the deadliest year for Southern Resident killer whales in two decades.

Related: Food scarcity could threaten NW orcas

Three Seattle vigils were held Tuesday to pay tribute to those lost and also to send a message to protect the surviving orca.

“This population of animals cannot afford to lose any more of their breeding females if we hope to see them in future years,” said vigil organizer Rachel Carbary.

“We could not save J34, J28, J54, L95, J14, or J55,” she said listing off the titles of the whales who died over the past year. “Let’s work together to save the rest.”

Southern resident orca

According to KIRO 7, not all of the six whales that passed away in 2016 have been found. Those who have been recovered died from various causes, including disease, blunt force trauma and starvation. The most recent death occurred last week. An orca washed up on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.

There are only 79 Southern Resident orca left in the region. KIRO 7 reports that their diet consists of primarily Chinook salmon – a population that has decreased by half since the 1980s.

Orca advocates are urging state lawmakers to take steps to protect salmon and killer-whale populations, including removing dams on the lower Snake River where many fish spawn.

See article here…….

1 Comment

Initial Necropsy Results: Southern Resident Killer Whale J34

Initial examination indicates that the animal appears to have blunt trauma to the dorsal side, and a hematoma indicating that J34 was alive at the time of injury.


An approximately 18 year old male killer whale, identified as J34 was found dead near Sechelt, B.C. on December 20th, 2016. J34 was a Southern Resident killer whale, a population listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act in Canada. A necropsy was performed to determine the cause of the animal’s death.

Initial examination indicates that the animal appears to have blunt trauma to the dorsal side, and a hematoma indicating that J34 was alive at the time of injury. A CAT scan will be conducted on the skull to determine if there are any fractures. Additional information from tissue and blood analysis can take 2-8 weeks. DFO is investigating what may have caused the blunt trauma to the animal. Anyone with information please call our Observe Record Report line at 1-800-465-4336.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like to acknowledge the Sechelt First Nation, whose efforts and collaboration were central to locating the animal and facilitating a successful necropsy. We would also like to thank the BC Ministry of Agriculture (and in particular, Dr. Stephen Raverty, Veterinary Pathologist who performed the necropsy exam), Vancouver Aquarium staff, as well as numerous dedicated DFO staff and biologists.

The results of J34’s necropsy will feed into a growing body of knowledge to assist in assessing the threats to Southern Resident killer whales from a population health perspective. This data allows us to look at trends, pathogens, or other indicators that may affect their survival.

This page will be updated as new information comes in.

See official site here….

The following are news articles.





Leave a comment

Face to Face with Killer Whales

An unexpected Orca encounter in the Galapagos turns into a 40 minute high-adrenaline photo session!!!


Face-to-Face with Killer Whales

By Ron Watkins          Article and photo credit Underwater Photography Guide

A Killer Welcome to the Galapagos

Besides my love of teaching others underwater photography, my favorite part of leading Bluewater Photo Workshops is that I get to travel to the best dive locations in the world and share new adventures with others.  Every trip I enjoy making new friends, but on my last trip, our diverse group of 15 divers from Taiwan, England, New Zealand, Ukraine, Germany and the US got to experience something so rare and special that it will forever bond us together. On the third morning of our June 2016 Galapagos trip we awoke to the majestic sight of the rising sun over the towering Darwin’s Arch.  Darwin Island, along with Wolf Island, are two of the main draws of this special 10 day diving and land tour through the Galapagos archipelago that Bluewater Photo had organized.  It was a dream trip for all of us and nearly everyone’s first visit to the Ecuadorian treasure and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site.

As everyone was sipping their first cup of coffee and doing last minute camera prep in anticipation of the 6:30 AM dive briefing, we all heard a scream of “ORCAS” and rushed to the bow of the Galapagos Master with cameras in hand.  We first saw one, then 2, then 5 fins surface as we zoomed in on this rare sighting of a transient pod of orcas (Orcinus orca) in the Galapagos.  They swam around the bow of the boat and then headed towards the arch.  The crew readied two pangas and we raced towards them to get some better photo opportunites, but shortly after our departure the orcas disappeared.  Just 2 weeks prior, on the second of four Bluewater Galapagos trips in 2016, they had also seen Orcas in the distance but were unable to get very close to them, so we all felt very fortunate to have at least seen them.


An Orca surfaces in front of the 51’ lava structure called Darwin’s Arch as we look on from bow of the Galapagos Master


The transient pod of orcas patrol the coast of Darwin Island on a potential hunt

Return Visit by the Pod

The orcas made another brief appearance escorting us to our dive site, but then again disappeared.  After diving in the strong current at Darwin’s Arch with lots of schooling fish but only a few hammerhead sharks, we returned to the boat to have breakfast and relax during a short surface interval.  The dive master told us that because of the killer whales are in the area, the larger sharks, sea lions, turtles and rays are probably seeking shelter in protected areas or are avoiding the exposed area of the arch.  As we were about to sit down to breakfast, another cry of “ORCAS” rang out and we all scrambled back to the pangas with cameras in hand.

We watched and photographed the pod from the pangas for several minutes and then observed the large male surface in the distance with what appeared to be a large sea turtle in its mouth and thrash about before diving down.  We discussed whether it was just a play toy or a meal, but after we observed an oily slick near where the orca had surfaced, we guessed it was the latter.  Despite having up to 4” teeth and often being referred to as killer whales, these marine mammals are actually the largest of the oceanic dolphin family.  They may have gotten their deceptively dangerous name from a mistranslation of their Spanish name “asesina de ballenas”, which literally means “killer of whales” because they often feast on whales.  But after witnessing the raw power of these animals, it was evident that they are at the top of the food chain in the ocean.


The power of these apex predators is evident in this high speed surface.


The large male orca surfaces with a mature female close to the panga.

The orcas then closed in on our boats and proceeded to engage in what appeared to be social activity.  We spent several minutes photographing them surface a few feet from the boat and jump out of the water, followed by two magnificent tail slaps that got a roar of excitement from everyone.  At this point, I decided I was going in the water to photograph the orcas and after a brief negotiation with the dive masters, our panga headed back to the main ship so we could quickly gather our gear.  I removed my strobes, grabbed my mask, snorkel and fins and advised the others to do the same.  We were quickly back in the panga and racing out to where the orcas were still entertaining the other boats.


A female orca entertains us with an incredible gravity defying vertical rise followed by a loud tail slap.

Entering the Water with Orcas

After a brief discussion of whether it was safe or not to enter the water, I quietly slipped in alone as the others looked on in disbelief from the security of the panga. The pod of 5 orcas was a short distance in front of me and slowly approached my position.  I took a test shot, looked at the histograms and made a few minor camera adjustments.  I then looked up to see the large male quickly closing in on me as if to protect the other three females and calf from this strange creature and make sure that I was not a threat.  He came within 8-10 feet of me and slowly changed course to pass just below as I turned around and started swimming with him until I could no longer keep up.  With a rush of adrenaline, I popped up and swam toward the boat and quickly handed up my camera.  Immediately, the group started quizzing me about if they were aggressive and what it was like, but with my eyes wide-open and evident state of euphoria, I think they already knew the answer.  As I explained to them the thrill of the interaction, I hit the display on my camera and quickly showed them a few images I had captured, which elicited screams of excitement as they grabbed their fins and masks.  Evidently, the fear of a photographer missing a rare photo opportunity is much greater than the fear of getting in the water with the ocean’s most powerful predator.


The large male with a 3-4’ tall dorsal fin closes in and then swims below.


The 8-9’ long calf swims below the larger female and surfaces for air.
A solo female orca splits from the pod to get a closer look.

On the second pass I was slowly joined by a few of the others, and eventually everyone in the boat joined in the fun.  After seeing us repeatedly swim with the pod and hearing our screams (of joy), the other boat raced back to the main ship and returned for a swim with the orcas.  Over a period of 40 minutes, the playful pod of killer whales interacted with us in the water while we took pictures and video, but they eventually grew tired and moved on.  The following day, while surfacing from a dive on Darwin’s Arch, some of our group were treated to a repeat performance by the orcas.


An orca plays in the waves along the coast of Darwin Island


An orca passes over a shallow ledge in the warm clear blue water of Darwin Island.

Reflections on a Once in a Lifetime Experience

After our interactions with the orcas, we were all as giddy as school kids and couldn’t stop talking about what each of us had experienced and just how fortunate we were to see orcas in the wild – the way they are supposed to be seen.  We all came to the Galapagos to experience the raw beauty of nature, but none of us expected an interaction of a lifetime.  For the next several nights, the workshop photo reviews were full of orca pictures and videos and some people became very emotional when reflecting on what it meant to them.  For me, it truly was a new high point in my aquatic life and I feel extremely lucky that the orcas allowed us to interact with them.  But most of all, it was being able to share this chance encounter with 15 people from various walks of life who now share an everlasting bond.  I will never forget how terrific I felt when one of the Taiwanese divers, Albert, approached me and confided, “It has been 22 years of diving for me and it is the first time I have spotted wild orcas.  If you didn’t jump into the water, I would not have done so myself alone. Thank you, so much.  Great to share this experience with you.”


Frame of video taken by Bluewater Photo Workshop guest Lee Hsiao Chung, who was one of the first guests to enter the water with the orcas.

Learn More About Orcas

We discuss the range and habitat, diet, types of orcas, conservation and more in our marine life article Facts About Orcas.

Article by Underwater Photography Guide

Leave a comment

UPCOMING EVENTS: Week of September 17 to September 25 and beyond!!

**************WEDNESDAY, September 21, 2016 – Town Hall Meeting hosted by BROKE – Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion*****************

 2 Town Halls re. Kinder Morgan Pipeline Sept.21 & 28

With the Federal Ministerial Panel deadline to voice concerns about the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion fast approaching, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE) has organized two more town halls on Sept. 21 and Sept. 28, for residents to learn about the risks associated with the project.

We only have until September 30 to voice our concerns to the Ministerial Panel examining the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.


*************WEDNESDAY, September 21, 2016 – Climate Convergence Meeting – Grandview Church,

1801 East 1st Ave – 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.********************

Join us for the September meeting of People’s Climate Convergence, where the diverse strands of the climate justice movement come together every month to strategize, organize and build grassroots mobilization.
This month we’re announcing a major fall mobilization to Stop Kinder Morgan with speeches from key activists, discussion on and details on how you can help to build it. With cabinet’s final decision approaching in December this a is a crucial moment for us to demonstrate the broadest possible scale of opposition to this project.
Climate March November 29,2015, Vancouver (unceded)

******SATURDAY @ SUNDAY, September 24 and 25 – Greet the GARbarge – Steveston Fishermans Wharf – 10:00 am Sat to 4 pm Sun

The GarBarge will be bringing an estimated 40 tonnes of plastic and other marine debris to Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf and we need your help to sort and recycle it!
Groups have been working hard this year to remove plastic and other marine debris from Vancouver Island’s remote and (otherwise) pristine west coast beaches before it endangers wildlife. By bringing our recoveries to Steveston, we hope to raise awareness of the magnitude of this issue in B.C., as well as improve our chances of getting the material recycled and repurposed.
The event will include a presentation and thanks to the Government of Japan for its gift of $1 million, that helped fund the groups listed below to collect the debris.

*******SUNDAY, September 25, 2016 – Kayaktivist Training –              1:00 to 3:00 pm –  Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres

If you want to protect the Salish Sea while cruising in a kayak, come join us for a training session at Granville Island on Sunday, Sept. 25!
1 hour on the water training
– paddling pointers, rescue techniques, etc.
45 minutes dryland training
– navigation, safety tips, why we’re protecting the coast, etc.
We will have a limited number of kayaks available for volunteers, so RSVP here:

*****SUNDAY, September 25, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Burnaby Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Run and Walk Event for Change -#stopkindermorgan

Break Free Kinder Morgan Land and Water  May, 2016 – Sunday, September 25th from 2 to 4. Bring your family’s all ages welcome!!!!!!
Fall in love with our precious nature!


 An inclusive community run and walk along the Trans Mountain Trail for anyone who wishes to simply learn more about, or share views and information on the proposed #KinderMorgan pipeline expansion project slated for Federal Cabinet decision December 2016.

2:00 PM – Community gathers to enjoy music, words from residents, group displays, art, speakers, vendors, sponsors and more.

2:30PM – Residents, speakers and leaders share their voice concening the issues surrounding pipeline expansion, alternative energy solutions, and the politics of change.

3-4 PM – Community Run and Walk (3.4km) along the Trans Mountain pipeline trail and tank farm. Participants will have a chance to craft and affix a personal message on a designated ‘Tree of Change” at the turnaround point at the base of Shellmont Ave and Greystone Drive.

4:00 PM Closing remarks and give-away’s.

We are seeking volunteers and accepting door prizes from sponsors, plus we have speaking opportunities for local residents and leaders. Please contact: philifil@gmail.com

We will have tables and displays from BROKE-Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, Dogwood Initiative, Amray Solar, The Great Climate Race, and more.

Gift prizes from Ethical Bean Coffee, Fitness 2000, Choices Markets and more.

Attendees are encourage to register for and participate in the The Great Climate Race on October 30, 2016. We would like to use this initiative to potentially springboard a team to raise funds for a solar roof project at Forest Grove Elementary school.

Attendees can use Transit taking the 136 Lougheed Station Bus route from Holdom Station at 1:25pm, exit bus stop 54875. Or the 136 Brentwood Station Bus route from University/Production Way Skytrain station at 1:35pm, exit 54846 bus stop.

It’s okay to drive your car to this event. You won’t be judged for using the most readily available transportation method lol!! Parking is available along Forest Grove Drive or Ash Grove Crescent. Carpooling is encouraged and please bring a water container.