|L90 in Haro Strait, September 11- Photo by Dave Ellifrit|
We have been episodically monitoring L90 - taking respiration rates, surfacing/
dive intervals/traveling speed, and videotaping , as well as taking good-quality close-up photos of her melon, etc.
She continues to consistently trail the other whales and is breathing at frequent intervals ranging from 20 sec-120 sec, with
most in 30 second range. Her dives are typically shallow (often visible underwater at about 60'), and when observed the in calm water near East Point on September 20th, she was making brief vocalizations between breaths. At the time, she was lagging behind the other whales by about one and a half miles. Her surfacing posture is unusual - when logging she "bobs" for each breath, and when traveling she surfaces horizontally and then dives rather "stiffly", as if there is a problem with her spine. She has been doing this since July 6, before the alleged vessel strike.
We recently noted her surfacing about 100 feet behind a yacht wake and she appeared to be thrown off balance from the wake. She was also observed rolling on her side going through kelp. She does not show evidence any emaciation. The most notable aspect of all of this, and it is also notable for other ailing/trailing whales we have monitored in the past: there is little to no obvious care-giving behavior exhibited by the other whales. Presumably she is eating, otherwise she would show evidence of emaciation.
We all have concerns for the fate of this whale, but there is very little that anyone can do but observe. This has happened before, and it will happen again.