J52 and J36
J52 and J36

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J52 and J36
J52 and J36

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

inverted tailob
inverted tailob

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J52 and J36
J52 and J36

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Encounter Summary: 

Ken called Dave at home at 0823 to relay a report of whales seen about a half hour before heading east over the Oak Bay flats and that he was now seeing whales out near Beaumont Shoal. Dave got ready and headed over to CWR and then to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 0940.At 0958, Dave found J19 heading north by herself way in the lead off Hannah Heights. J2 was slowly heading north off Pile Point ten minutes later. J41 and J51 were at Pile Point fifteen minutes after J2. The pair milled off Pile Point before turning southeast. J2 had also turned south and was offshore of J41 and J51 off False Bay.The next inshore whales were all the way down at Eagle Point and this was J22 and J34 who were milling near shore there. There were whales offshore but they were also spread out. After getting proof of presence shots on J22 and J34, Orca headed back north and briefly saw J26 who was charging inshore toward Eagle Point. J16, J50, and J52 were spread out milling off Pile Point before they too turned south. J50 was sometimes near J16 but also spent a lot of time catching up her.Since whales were being hard to find off False Bay, Orca headed down to Salmon Bank to find some new whales. Orca had a brief pass by J37 and J49. After they passed Orca, J49 was seen to spyhop with part of a salmon in his mouth. Soon after, small groups began to form off Southbeach. The J19's showed up again and they joined J37, J49, and J14. A little inshore of them were J22 and J34 again but J40 and J45 joined them briefly too.Dave saw a whale watch boat looking at whales a few miles southeast of where the fleet was and went out that way to take a look. This turned out to be J36 and J52 who were milling and they were soon joined by J2. The three of them looked to be actively chasing fish. Although no scales were seen, J36 was seen to poop but Orca didn't have the right gear for poop scooping that day.A whale or two were seen another couple of miles to the southeast and this turned out to be J35 and J47 who were foraging separately and taking long dives near the south end of McArthur Bank. A bull was seen in the distance even farther to the south and this ended up being J27. J39 joined him briefly before splitting off again. The two brothers were also taking very long dives and being hard to follow. Another bull was seen yet farther to the south and, by process of elimination, had to be L87. He was also being hard to find and apparently headed east along with J27 but Dave never got a photo of him.The whales closer to shore appeared to be rounding the south end of Lopez Island and heading east. A few more whales showed up even further south-closer to Smith Island than Iceberg Point on Lopez Island. This was J28, J31, and J46 who were traveling east although J31 and J46 appeared to foraging together some while J28 went ahead of them.All of J pod was still incredibly spread out and heading east. Some of the leaders may have stuck their noses up Rosario Strait before turning south again. Orca ended the encounter at 1555 about 4-5 miles west of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station (close enough to have flyovers by some F-18's)with J pod still heading east toward it.

Notes-Comments:photos are cropped







Dave Ellifrit

J pod





Haro Strait and eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca


48. 22.38/122.44.83



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Encounter #33 - May 17, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits