Friday, July 19, 2013

Lime Kiln Naturalists

The main highlight of today was the multiple field trips--and the surprise visitors! To start off the day, we went down to Lime Kiln State Park to learn about the history of the lighthouse as well as about Orcas from specialist Bob Otis! A fellow Wisconsinite, Bob Otis comes from Ripon College and has studied the Orcas here for longer than I've been alive!

So, during the lecture I learned that Orcas are cool. This was not a surprise. I learned some new stuff, but most of it was stuff that I already knew. I am learning (however slowly)!

After that, we had a lecture on geology. I had no idea that you could get so much interesting history from the rocks here! Apparently, the San Juan Islands (or at least the land that would become the San Juans) started out as part of Baja and the South Pacific. Also, there were a TON of glaciers here.

After the lecture we went off on a geology field trip.

Look at the basalt

Very nice basalt
 But then, who did we see but...

And then the entire field trip went off the rails. Of course, it's us, isn't it?

Only one problem: we couldn't identify who we were seeing.

It was a huge mystery. We heard that it was the L-22s, but they were missing Mega!

But then we started looking at the female's fins

They were super pointy--too pointy to be Residents
 And then we realized--these were the transients (the T-30s, to be exact (but we didn't find that out till much later))!

And they had their little one-year old with them!

The baby's in the middle. What a cutie!

We continued on with our field trip, however, making tracks from Lime Kiln to South Beach (and American Camp). After it ended, there was a notice--the L-22s were headed down towards the island and could be there in a couple of hours?

Intern Michael (my fellow education intern) offered to drive a couple of us non-car people out to Lime Kiln to wait. And wait we did--over four hours!

We were joined by Michael's parents and sister, who were visiting the island. They were also accompanied by dinner. They are a kind and noble people, Michael's family--super generous as well (and I'm not just saying this because my stomach was filled)!

The Lime Kiln Lighthouse

And then we saw them, highlighted against the rays of the dying sun. Unfortunately, this is the only picture that isn't completely blurred that I managed to capture.

But it was the L-22s~!

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