L87 plowing at Kellett Bluff
L87 plowing at Kellett Bluff

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 at Kellett Bluff
L87 at Kellett Bluff

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J2 near Smugglers Cove
J2 near Smugglers Cove

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 plowing at Kellett Bluff
L87 plowing at Kellett Bluff

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

1/15

Encounter Summary: 

After hearing over the radios that residents were heading back up the west side of San Juan Island, Dave and colleagues from Exeter University headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 1255. The whales were already approaching Mitchell Bay as we putted out of the harbor and we began the encounter at 1310 off Smugglers Cove.
We first saw J2 and K14 foraging off Smugglers Cove while K36 and K42 were farther offshore. The whales were very spread out and we weren't seeing very many of them. K26 appeared just south of Kellett Bluff and he milled briefly in that area. K36 and K42 came inshore and chased a fish together off the south end of the bluff before moving north. There were a few whales spread out deeper in Mitchell Bay and we got a glimpse of J14, J40, and J45 as they came around the south end of Kellett and also headed north. L87 was behind the other whales and was out in the middle of Haro Strait but he also headed in toward Kellett Bluff. We saw him actively chase a salmon before continuing north. We left L87 off north Kellett Bluff at 1448 to head down the west side of SJI to find other whales we heard had turned south before they got to Lime Kiln.
At 1515, we found J26, J42, and J50 spread out and foraging off Hannah Heights. We found J16, J36, and J52 further south foraging near Kanaka Bay. The whales were heading south but stopping to forage and mill every so often. J42 chased a salmon right up to our boat and then began to vigorously chase it off our stern. J36 joined her in the chase and J50 and J52 were nearby too.
We saw a few other whales down near Eagle Point so we knew we had more than just the J16's there. These whales turned out to be the J19's and they were also foraging while pointed south. All the whales remained pretty spread out although J50 and J52 were playing with one another near J36 for a while. We left the whales heading south about a half mile offshore of American Camp at 1645.

26-Jun-15

1

53

13:10

16:45

Orca

Dave Ellifrit, Lauren Brent, Darren Croft, and Tea

J pod, K14's, L87

J2, J14, J16, J19, J26, J36, J40, J41, J42, J45, J50, J51, and J52

K14, K26, K36, and K42

and L87

Haro Strait

48 34.38/123 10.71

48 27.24/123 01.44

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Encounter #53 - June 26, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272