Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Kenai Fjords

Fjord...a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs, as in Norway,Iceland or Alaska, typically formed by submergence of a glaciated valley.

Orcas or "killer whales" can eat an 80.000 pound humpback whale. In the 1950's they were much feared. Divers were cautioned to exit the water when orcas were present. There is only one documented instance of an orca biting a human and he was spit out when the orca realized that the surfer was not something that it was used to eating.

We see tidewater and alpine glaciers. This one is 700 feet high and two miles wide. It "calves" several times while we watch.

Kenny after we stop at Fox Island for salmon and prime rib. Orcas have an expanded area in the brain for hearing. Sound travels faster and further underwater. They use ecolocation (like bats) to hunt prey. They make clicks and receive echos on their foreheads.

Phred Firecloud shading his eyes. The mammal eating orcas sometimes develop fatal levels of PCBs. When they eat a seal, all the PCB that the seal has accumulated is deposited in their fat tissues. One beached orca had 15 plastic seal tags in it's stomach. Much of this PCB is deposited in the mother orcas milk and fed to her babies. Orcas have a lifespan and sexual maturity similar to humans, although the males tend to have a much shorter life span than the females. Orca pods are matriarchal  and it is thought that the older females teach their offspring how to hunt prey..

"Resident" orcas swim in pods and eat only fish like salmon and halibut. "Transient" orcas also swim in matriarchal pods and only eat mammals like harbor seals, stellar sea lions or humpback whales. The two types of orcas have separate languages of clicks and whistles and have not interbred for thousands of years according to DNA analysis..There is also an "offshore" type of orca but these have not been studied and little is known about their behavior or eating habits.

I was once the president of SLAMM (Society to Liberate All Marine Mammals) Our plan was to don our SCUBA gear at night and dynamite the holding gates of Marine World and release all the captive orcas and porpoises. Unfortunately, that plan ultimately failed to come to fruition because I was the only member of the society and had no actual idea how of to buy dynamite or how to set it off underwater.

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