T128 taillobs next to T125A
T128 taillobs next to T125A

Photo by Jeanne Hyde

T127 pec slap
T127 pec slap

Photo by Jeanne Hyde

ID shot T125
ID shot T125

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T128 taillobs next to T125A
T128 taillobs next to T125A

Photo by Jeanne Hyde


Encounter Summary: 

Jeanne Hyde called Dave at home in the early afternoon to relay a report of T's near Cattle Pass. A little while later, Katie Jones called Dave from the Western Prince to say that there were some T's there along with the T65A's that she did not recognize and that we should get out there. Then, the word came down that the unknowns might be the T125's who are a group that rarely ventures into this area and that CWR had never encountered before. Jeanne met Dave at Snug Harbor and they left aboard Orca at 1430.The whales traveled up San Juan Channel and around the north tip of Lopez Island before turning south again. Orca arrived on scene at 1530 about a mile or two south of Frost Island. The whales were loosely spread and heading south down Lopez Sound. There was a core group of most of the T65A's and T128 and the other whales were spread out peripherally around this group in singles or pairs. Shortly after we arrived, it looked like the whales started making a kill but we never saw what they were attacking. The whales milled for a while before continuing south. Individuals and pairs that moved south would soon turn around and slowly head back in the direction of the bulk of the T65A's who were still milling.After all the whales continued south, there was a lot of breaching and splashing-mainly from T65A4 and T65A5. T127 seemed very interested in T65A and was often swimming upside down underneath her. The T65A's and T125's passed by Lopez Pass and went as far south as the north end of Mud Bay before turning around and heading back toward Lopez Pass. The whales entered the pass at about 1645 and we left them about a half mile east of Lopez Pass in Rosario Strait pointing southeast at 1700.The T125's are extremely rare transients in the San Juans and around southern Vancouver Island and the last and only record CWR has of them in the area was from when Robin Baird encountered them near Smith Island in June of 1992. There is a chance that someone has seen them here since then but we have never seen the photos. T127 is impressive with his broad based but trashed dorsal fin. His fin sustained some sort injury between the 1999 and 2008 transient catalogues which has caused the top half of his fin to deteriorate in that time. T128 has a small fin for his age and also has a new nick near the base since the 2012 DFO transient catalogue came out. Since the 2012 DFO catalogue, T125A's dorsal fin has grown and he has acquired a large new nick mid fin. We will double check with DFO to make sure this whale actually is T125A as it is hard to match to the ID photo in the 2012 catalogue.T65A2 also has a brand new nick near the tip of his fin along with lots of rake marks on his dorsal.

Notes-Comments:photos are cropped







Dave Ellifrit, Jeanne Hyde

T65A's and T125's




Lopez Sound

48 31.00/122 51.09

48 28.73/ 122 49.45



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Encounter #38 - May 31, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits