L109 and L103
L109 and L103

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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L105 and L72
L105 and L72

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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J and K pods
J and K pods

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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L109 and L103
L109 and L103

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Encounter Summary: 

Jeanne Hyde called Dave at home somewhere around 0630 to report that she had lots of southern residents heading north at Lime Kiln. Dave headed over to CWR and then down to Snug Harbor where he, Lauren, and Darren left aboard Orca at 0735.
We found one large mixed group of J's and L's (J11's minus J27, J17's, J19's, L26's, L43's, L47's, L82's, and L86's)off Open Bay at 0742. The whales moved over to the rocks at the south end of Kellett Bluff and headed north. We decided to check out another large group who were paralleling the Kellett Bluff group about three quarters of a mile to the west. This was J2, L87, the J14's, J22's, K13's, K14's, and the K16's and they were in a tight group moving slowly northwest.
At about 0815, we moved east back across Haro Strait to the large J and L pod group but first stopped and checked out a couple of other whales who were ahead of the larger group. This was K22 and K33 who were heading north together off north Kellett Bluff at a medium clip. We soon moved back to the large group who were still tight and moving slowly north. J27 showed up out of nowhere and joined this group around 0835. By about 0840, the J's, L82's, L86's, and L95 moved off to the west of the L26', L47's, and L72's. We stayed with the group with L72, L90, L92, and L105 in it since this was those four whales first appearance in Haro Strait in 2015.
Ken reported that the L12's were also passing CWR but they turned around in Open Bay and headed back down the west side of SJI before we could get to them in the boat. KCB got photos of all the L12's from the deck at CWR.
Due to forest fires in several different places in British Columbia, there were dark clouds coming out of the northwest which made the sun red and the lighting a weird shade of brown-yellow. A little after 0930, we left the L group and headed about a half mile north to a male who was foraging by himself. This was K21 and we saw him actively chase a salmon before he headed off to the west.
We then went back to the mixed group of J's and L's who were mid-Haro Strait off Spieden Island. This group headed toward the Stuart Island shoreline and merged with the L pod whales who were part of their group earlier near a tide rip off Tiptop Hill on Stuart Island. There was some excitement along the tide rips and both J19 and L92 spy hopped once each along with a couple other whales doing cartwheels. As the whales hit the Stuart Island shoreline shortly after 1000, we moved off and ahead to catch them again as they rounded Turn Point. The first of the whales rounded Turn Point by 1025, and these were all of the K12's. The other J's and K's also moved toward Stuart Island and filed up the shoreline after the leaders. We also saw the rest of the L55's who we had not seen earlier.
As the whales passed Turn Point, most of the whales headed offshore and stayed in large groups. We saw a small group a little northeast of the larger groups that was not being watched by the whale watch fleet. This was the K12's and they were generally heading north but also milled around a little. We left the K12's as they joined a larger group at 1100 about a mile and a half north of Turn Point and were pointed in the direction of Bedwell Harbor.
The J16's had been found earlier off Battleship Rock and we headed down to see them before calling it quits. We got on the J16's at 1116 about a mile south of Tiptop Hill. They were loosely spread out and heading north. J26 and J42 briefly traveled with J16 and J50 before moving inshore together. J42 seemed excited about something and did several cartwheels and a couple of full breaches while J26 seemed to be goosing her from below. We left the J16's still heading north a little north of Tiptop Hill on Stuart Island at 1137.







Dave Ellifrit, Lauren Brent, Darren Croft


J2, J14, J16, J17, J19, J22, J26, J27, J28, J31, J34, J35, J36, J37, J38, J39, J40, J41, J42, J44, J45, J46, J47, J49, J50, J51, J52

K12, K13, K14, K16, K20, K21, K22, K25, K26, K27, K33, K34, K35, K36, K37, K38, K42, K43, K44

L47, L55, L72, L82, L83, L86, L87, L90, L91, L92, L95, L103, L105, L106, L109, L110, L115, L116, and L118

(L22, L25, L27, L41, L77, L85, L89, L94, L113, L119, and L121 photographed by KCB from CWR porch)

Haro Strait

48 34.93/123 11.61

48 40.50/123 14.08



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Encounter #59 - July 5, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits