J54 and J28
J54 and J28

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J53 and J17
J53 and J17

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J54 and J28
J54 and J28

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Encounter Summary: 

Jane Cogan and Jeanne Hyde called Dave at home to relay a report of killer whales being spotted in San Juan Channel. Dave headed over to CWR and then to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 0940. Jeanne had seen KW blows in SJ Channel in front of Shaw Island earlier from Ruben Tarte State Park but they had disappeared by the time Orca was motoring out of Snug Harbor.

Dave saw a blow mid-SJ Channel a couple miles southeast of Green Point on Spieden Island at 1000 but it turned out to be a humpback whale. Orca then went on a search through the islands along the north and east sides of Jones Island, through Pole Pass, and east through Harney Passage. After coming down Upright Channel, it started to rain-hard, so Orca headed west up SJ Channel towards home. Along the way, Orca passed Tom and Jane Cogan who had Melisa Pinnow with them aboard their boat Morning Star. Morning Star found J pod and L87 at about 1140 as the whales were just about to exit Cattle Pass. Since Orca was almost to Roche Harbor, Dave decided to top off the fuel in the boat and go down the west side of San Juan Island.

Orca final arrived on scene at 1250 about a mile southwest of the Salmon Bank buoy. Morning Star, who had stayed with the whales and helped Orca get there, reported that all the whales had been together in one group and had recently split up into several groups as they headed slowly southwest. The groups were spread out north to south with the largest group including the J11's, J14's, J19's, J22's, and the J35's. J2 and L87 and the rest of the J17's had disappeared to the south somewhere while the J16's were somewhere to the northwest. J38 and J45 were goofing around about a hundred yards or so to the southwest of the larger group. A little later the J11's and J22's split off less then hundred yards to the southeast.

The rest of the J17's showed up again a few hundred yards to the north of the larger groups while Morning Star was another couple hundred yards to the north with the J16's. Orca took a brief look at these last two groups before ending the encounter at 1355 due to deteriorating sea conditions about two and a half to three miles north of the north Hein Bank buoy.







Dave Ellifrit

J pod and L87

J14, J16, J17, J19, J22, J26, J27, J28, J31, J34, J35, J37, J38, J39, J40, J41, J42, J44, J45, J46, J47, J49, J50, J51, J53, and J54

north of Hein Bank

48 24.80/123 03.85

48 23.71/123 03.85



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Encounter #102 - Dec 20, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits