J28's with J54
J28's with J54

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J28's with J54
J28's with J54

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J28'ss with J54
J28'ss with J54

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J28's with J54
J28's with J54

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Encounter Summary: 

Jane Cogan called Dave at home in the morning to report that she was hearing J pod calls on the hydrophone. Dave scrambled for the boat and left Snug Harbor aboard Orca at about 1045.

Orca encountered its first whale at 1054 about a half mile west of CWR. This was J16 while J19 was a couple hundred yards west of her. These two were foraging and taking long dives as they headed north so Dave moved on to the south. Off the County Park, J42, J50, J36, J52, J41, and J51 zipped by mostly un-photographed in three pairs that were loosely spread out.

Jeanne Hyde, after many tries, got ahold of Dave on the cell phone to report that she was seeing J28 with a calf from shore at Lime Kiln. We had received a few photos from Ivan Reiff that he took on December 1, 2015 that showed J28 with a young calf. However, there was not enough information in the photos to prove that the calf was not J53 so we were hoping to have another good J pod encounter before the year was out.

Jeanne pointed Dave in the right direction to J28 and the calf and he found them with little problem at 1110 off Smallpox Bay. J28, her new calf J54, and J46 traveled as a threesome for the rest of the encounter. They were surfacing erratically and taking long dives so obtaining good photographs was difficult to say the least. The calf appeared to be in good health and not once during the long dives did J54 surface early before the other two like young calves often will. The J28's moved out to mid-strait while in front of Andrews Bay but moved back inshore by the time they made it to Kellett Bluff.

Ken came up from Sequim in Chimo and arrived on scene around 1230 or so. He saw a humpback off Pile Point on the way up but it disappeared before it could be photographed. Ken found J17, J44, and J53 off Kellett Bluff while Dave was with the J28's nearing Battleship Rock. There were 5-10 Dall's porpoise charging around in the area. The J28's soon ditched Orca and disappeared before showing up again about forty minutes later on the other side of Haro Strait about a mile NE of Halibut Island.

Orca passed off the J28's to Chimo so Ken could take some video of the new calf while Dave went off in search of more whales. Orca found J37 and J49 about 3/4s of a mile east of Mandarte Island. J2 and J39 were foraging near a tide rip about a hundred yards ahead of these two. Orca went on ahead and found the J19's about a half mile northeast of Tom Point on Gooch Island. All the whales seemed to be generally heading north although some whales were occasionally pointing more northwest.

Orca began heading southwest again and found a group including all three of the J22's, J2, and J39 just northwest of Tom Point at 1445. The whales moved right along the kelp on the west side of Coopers Reef before continuing north on the west side of Haro strait toward Swanson Channel. Orca left this group at 1455 and began heading home. L87 appeared about 1/4 mile north of Tom Point at 1500 and Orca stayed with him for two surfacings before he arched big and went on a long dive thus ending the encounter for good at 1501.

16-Dec-15

1 & 2

101

10:54

15:01

Orca and Chimo

Dave Ellifrit in Orca and Ken Balcomb in Chimo

J pod and L87

J2, J17, J19, J22, J28, J34, J37, J38, J39, J41, J42, J44, J46, J47, J49, J50, J51, J53, and J28's new calf J54

and L87

Haro Strait

48 33.16/123 10.75

48 40.79/123 17.05

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Encounter #101 - Dec 16, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272