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Bare November Days

The Dorsal Spin
Elegant male Gaia (L78), 1989 -- 2012. Photo © Mark Sears, 10/22/09.
Elegant male Gaia (L78), 1989 -- 2012. Photo © Mark Sears, 10/22/09.

An expression of gratitude is in order to everybody who attended our "Killer Whales in Peril" event. As we stated at the talk, we owe it to our endangered orcas to stay informed about the serious threats they face. Our commitment as First Nations conservationists is to honor the prodigious sacrifice of our Kéet Shuká.
 
A select few were particularly vital to the event logistics: our sponsors -- the Vashon Theatre, Island Greentech -- and graphics whiz Richard Rogers. Richard made our lovely poster and tickets. Richard is a generous, community-minded Islander who lends his considerable talents to many local endeavors – Vashon Hysterical Society, Voice of Vashon, Vashon Audubon, and the VHP, among others. Sometimes he even writes for The Loop.
 
Naturally, we are grateful to our beloved Kéet for providing endless inspiration. Assembling the slide show was bittersweet. Mark’s extensive photo collection is replete with exquisite, haunting images of orcas who are no longer with us. Several photos document the last known encounter with a specific Southern Resident, such as matriarch Lummi (K7).
 
J, K and L Pods virtually disappeared from their core feeding area around the San Juan Islands at the peak of summer. November is more than half over, and the Southern Residents have yet to grace Vashon-Maury waters in 2013. Their absence " . . . vexes me for reason why." Wherever they are, may they be feasting on a bountiful Chinook salmon run.
 
Please support the work of the Vashon Hydrophone Project (VHP): REPORT LOCAL WHALE SIGHTINGS ASAP TO 463-9041, as well as seal pups and sick, injured, or dead marine mammals on Island beaches. Prompt reports to the VHP expedite vital data collection efforts by Mark Sears and other researchers, and sustain an accurate record of whale sightings for Vashon-Maury initiated three decades ago. Send photos to Orca Annie at Vashonorcas@aol.com. Robert Frost’s wistful poem "My November Guest" is the source for two lyrical phrases in this article.