J51 between J19 and J41
J51 between J19 and J41

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J51 and J19
J51 and J19

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

baby J51
baby J51

Photo by Jeanne Hyde

J51 between J19 and J41
J51 between J19 and J41

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Encounter Summary: 

Jeanne Hyde called Dave (who then called Ken, who called..., etc.) at home at 0705 in the morning to report faint J pod calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. J27's satellite tag had put him near Constance Bank a little earlier in the morning with hints he may head southeast. Then the calls and satellite hits stopped. Dave drove down to South Beach to scan but did not see anything east of Hein Bank. It was dark and gloomy at Hein Bank and to the north although lighter to the southeast. By mid-morning we were in holding pattern while Tom and Jane Cogan aboard Morning Star and Mark Malleson aboard a Prince of Whales boat began an epic coordinated search in the big water southeast of Victoria and SJI. Unfortunately, the whales pulled a disappearing act all morning before unexpectedly showing up off the west side of SJI in the early afternoon.Jeanne joined Dave aboard Chimo and we left Snug Harbor at 1330 just as it began to rain. J pod was right out front and we were soon on them just as they were heading north past CWR. The whales were spread out in groups and individuals and were taking some long dives. The first group we got on included J39, J40, J42, J19, J41, and a new calf. It was confusing at first, with the rain on glasses and camera not helping, since it was a tight fast moving group. We thought we had J50 until it soon became clear J16 was not there and the calf's fin and eye patch did not look right. It was another new calf!Luckily, to help clear things up, J19, J41, and the new calf J51 separated from the other whales and began traveling by themselves north up mid-Haro Strait by 1400. It mostly stopped raining on us too-mostly. The calf was tucked closest to J19 but J41 was usually close by on the other of it. It makes the most sense that the calf is J19's as J41 is just a little young to expect a first calf. She is getting close to the minimum known age of first time mothers, though, and could have one in the next year or two. The calf appeared to be healthy and went on some pretty long dives. We guess J51 to be about a week old.We stayed with the J19's for a while and then around 1520 other whales began showing up from the south when we were off north Kellett Bluff, mid-Haro Strait. J31, J39, J42, and all the J14's stormed up and joined the J19's and there was much excitement. There was a rash of spyhops and all of them headed north in a tight group, oozing a little east toward Stuart Island. We left this group at 1537 mid-Haro Strait off Spieden Island.We found J16, J36, and J50 about a half mile to the southwest of the larger group. J50 looked healthy although she still looks a little beat up and may have some scars that will last a lifetime. To the southwest of this threesome, we found J26 chasing a salmon before he apparently caught it and straightened out and headed north. To the west of J26 we found J22, J34, J38, and J2 very spread out with J2 being nearest to Halibut Island.We had wanted to find J27 and see how his tag looked and, after catching glimpses of what we thought must be him earlier, we finally found him at about 1630 as he cruised up mid-Haro Strait south of most of the other whales. J27 was not being cooperative and was taking long dives so, since it was getting dark, we gave up and ended the encounter at 1652 about a mile east of Mandarte Island.Monica Wieland reported seeing the J17's and L87 nearer to Spieden Island and those were the only whales we didn't have time to make it to. However, Jeanne got photos of all the J17's and L87 from shore earlier in the day and Jane Cogan and others got them from boats later so all of J pod and L87 were accounted for.







Dave Ellifrit, Jeanne Hyde

J pod




new calf J51

Haro Strait





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Encounter #5 - Feb 12, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits