the J19s
the J19s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J2 chin
J2 chin

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the J19s
the J19s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Encounter Summary: 

After receiving whale reports from Ken and Jeanne Hyde, Dave headed over to CWR and then down to the boat and left Snug Harbor at 0930. Jeanne had reported loud calls on the OrcaSound hydrophone and we could see whales from CWR's deck to the north heading south before Dave left for the boatAt about 0943, Orca found a group of whales off Bellevue Point. This was J17, J44, J28, J46, and J31 who were in a loose group heading slowly south. J27 was about 3/4s of a mile to the west of this group. After that, whales were very hard to find for a while. Orca headed south and saw a lone straggler or two but they disappeared. J34 was seen but he soon took a dive that looked like it was going to take forever so Orca moved south towards False Bay.J19 was found near Kanaka Bay and J41 and J51 were a bit farther offshore. J51 was again tight with J41 for the entire encounter. It is now pretty clear that J51 is actually J41's calf and that J19 was probably just lending a helping hand with the calf in our first encounter with it. There was a bit of a lump to the seas here and the whales were moving south fast so it was hard to follow and photograph them. A backlit juvenile or two were also in the area but they were uncooperative.At about 1035, J22 and J34 were seen actively chasing a salmon together off False Bay and Orca managed to collect a scale sample. J22 and J34 headed south and Orca found some of the J14's spread out off Eagle Point but they disappeared shortly afterwards. They were found about fifteen minutes later a good ways offshore heading southwest in a tight group. More whales began popping up offshore and the J19's came from the east and joined the J14's. J2 and J38 showed up and then J35 and J47 also joined the group. J38 dropped back but soon showed up again with J22 and J34 and the three J22's merged into the rear of the larger group. Since both Ken observing from the deck at CWR and Jeanne watching from Lime Kiln had not seen any of the J16's, we felt confident that the J16's had not come south with the rest of J pod. So, other than J27, J39, and L87 plus most of the J17's seen earlier, we had all the whales we thought were around in one tight group pointed slowly southwest.Orca went on a search for the other whales and found J27 and J39 about a mile or so west of the large group. The brothers pointed back toward the big group and then suddenly the rest of the J17's showed up with them. The two groups merged and there was a bit of milling. All the whales were still more or less heading southwest at a slow pace even though they often milled a bit when coming up from a long dive.At 1245, when Orca and Morning Star were the only boats there, we looked to the east and saw another group of whales approaching the big group. It was the J16's! They had apparently come from around the south end of the islands. There had been a early morning report of whales in Thatcher Pass and we wondered if it had been the J16's. The J16's joined up with the rest of J pod and L87. The whales would still mill around upon surfacing from a long dive and it would have seemed just a tad evasive if the whales hadn't then circled around and passed right back by the boat.Near the end of the encounter during another milling moment, J16 floated at the surface near Orca and J50 spy hopped several times next to her. J42 was also floating with just the tip of her chin exposed nearby. All the whales continued slowly southwest and Orca ended the encounter at 1318 somewhere around Middle Bank.

Notes-Comments:photos are cropped







Dave Ellifrit

J pod and L87




J46,J47,J49,J50,J51,J52 and L87

Haro Strait





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Encounter #21 - April 15, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits