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L25 Ocean Sun - The Babysitter

L25 Ocean Sun and family members. Photo and story by Sara Hysong-Shimazu

It was a foggy day out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca years ago when L119 was just about a year old and L113 was just a few years older. The group of whales known as the L12s, which is actually several different matrilines that closely associate, were foraging and socializing together. The whales were spread out in singles or in small groups and in the distance we caught sight of three fins, surfacing together.

As we drew closer we could see it was L25 "Ocean Sun" closely flanked on either side by L113 "Cousteau" and L119 "Joy". She seemed to be on babysitting duty. The younger whales were feeling a bit rambunctious, rolling around together and with their guardian as the three milled inheeh area, not really going anywhere that particular morning. I always find it intensely fascinating and lovely to watch some of the older whales closely associate with the youngest members of the pod. It reminds me of our own family gatherings. But eventually, just like us, we're tired of babysitting.

Ocean Sun gave a couple percussive slaps of her flukes and within a few minutes the group was joined by L77 "Matia", Joy's mother, who seemed to take charge of the young ones while Ocean Sun headed off into the fog. We later found her swimming with L41 "Mega" off a couple of miles from the rest of the family. Perhaps she was getting a bit of a break after a morning with the kids.


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