Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Little Orca

So, after our visit to the Whale Museum on San Juan Island, we decided to sponsor a whale (i.e., make a small donation to the whale research people and 'adopt' a specific killer whale). The one we chose (from among those we'd seen two days before) was Calypso (L94),* who was named after Jacques Cousteau's ship.

Well, the latest "Monthly Orca Update" (for October 2009) as well as the whale museum's newsletter (CETUS) both arrived within the last two weeks, and it turns out that Calypso has just had a calf; the tiny new whale (L-113) having been first spotted on October 10th. A photograph of the baby whale, along with his or her uncle Mega (L-41) and mother (L-94), appears on page 3 of the newsletter. They don't name baby whales until they're about a year old, but it's rather nice to have a connection with a wild animal -- and one that isn't (unlike the rhinos, the tigers, and now the koalas) at present in danger of extinction.

Oh, and the mention of names reminds me: they've now given K-42 his (her?) official name: Kelp. I still think Janice's suggestion ("The Answer") was better.

--John R.

*[i.e., she was the ninety-fourth named member of L-pod, the largest of the three resident orca populations, the other two being J-pod and K-pod.]

P.S.: Today's walk: along the east levee of the Green River, from 200th street all the way up to the bridge at 180th -- which turned out to be a lot longer than twenty blocks (each way), given the bends in the river. I finally got to see Brisco Meander Park, which I've noticed on the map for years but which isn't that accessible by car. Nice place. And not protected by sandbags, which they just put across the cut-off point, leaving the park itself unprotected. Pity if it floods.
I also discovered that part of the levee I was walking on had its own name: the Desimone levee, apparently having been rebuilt in 1998, 1999, and 2002 after some flooding back in 1995/96 that I hadn't heard of before, it having preceded my moving out to these parts. Again, nice place, though it's a pity they'd obviously just cut down a whole row of big trees all along the trail.
Yesterday's walk: along the same levee a bit further south, starting from 212th street and walking up as far as 200th.

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