T49As
T49As

Photo by Barbara Bender

T49A4
T49A4

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T49As
T49As

Photo by Barbara Bender

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Encounter Summary: 

These whales were initially reported in mid-day off Orcas Island moving in a westerly direction toward and into Harney Channel between Orcas and Shaw Islands. When we arrived on scene near Bell Island west of the Orcas ferry dock the whales were in a tight circling group around a hapless seal that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. T49A did a spectacular spyhop, as if looking us over on arrival, and within a few minutes the group of whales continued swimming toward the west while the seal was not seen again. Near Yellow Island the whales spent about a half an hour going back and forth and circling the escarpment edge of San Juan Channel in a loosely coordinated group before gathering together and proceeding in a northerly direction toward Jones Island. They seemed very calm and often approached several vessels, including ours, in their travels and foraging. As they passed in a northerly direction near Jones Island, the male (49A1) moved off toward the shoreline of Orcas Island and the Mom (T49A) with her other two offspring moved toward the northwest for about one mile before returning toward the north shore of Orcas Island. We presume they travelled northeast in President Channel as we went west through Speiden Channel and to our dock slip in Snug Harbor, San Juan Island.

12-Apr-15

1

19

1545

1745

Tonto

Ken Balcomb

Barbara Bender

Transient

T49A,T49A1,T49A3,T49A4

Harney Channel to President Channel

48 35'/122 59'

48 37'/123 02'

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Encounter #19 - April 12, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272