L91 and L122
L91 and L122

Photo by Ken Balcomb

K25
K25

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Mount Baker
Mount Baker

L91 and L122
L91 and L122

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Encounter Summary: 

About thirty whales were reported heading south in Rosario Strait between Cypress and Blakely Islands this morning, so Ken and Giles responded in "Chimo" at 1005 from Snug Harbor. As expected, the whales were no longer in Rosario Strait by the time "Chimo" arrived fifty minutes later, but which way did they go? They could have gone to the East of Smith Island bound for Puget Sound, or they could have gone out into the vastness of the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, or they might have reversed course and gone north or in amongst the islands. This is the classic one boat dilemma - which way do you go. Fortunately, Tom and Jane Cogan elected to exercise their boat "Morningstar" and they offered to look northward in Rosario Strait while we headed out into the bumpy but calming Eastern Strait. Figuring the whales might be going a maximum speed of seven or eight knots in the slacking low tide before they met the incoming tide, we were just about to angle up into Haro Strait when Giles spotted a fin to the south of us when we were about one and a half mile off Iceberg Point, Lopez Island. We found the whales, but they were incredibly spread out and taking very long dives, making photography very difficult. And, it was a mixture of K's and some L's, but no J's. The southernmost flanking whale was K25 near the south end of Hein Bank, and the northernmost whales were a mix of K's and L's near Middle Bank. We managed to marginally photo-document 22 whales, including the new calves L122 and L123, but we surely missed some.

Notes-Comments: Giles boarded "Morningstar" at 13:29, and Ken went in "Chimo" further south in the deep Strait to see if there were any whales south of K25 before continuing on to John Wayne Marina on the Olympic Peninsula while the weather was acceptable. We wanted to keep one boat closer to Puget Sound for the eventuality of the SRKW's making another winter visit to that area before going coastal. Getting across the Strait in good weather this time of year is all about timing - it blew 56 knots in these same waters the very next day.

11-Dec-15

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100

12:05

15:42

Chimo

Ken Balcomb and Giles

K and L members

On CWR file

Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca

48.24.57/122.55.67

48.22/123.09

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Encounter #100 - Dec 11, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272