K25 breach
K25 breach

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K25 breach
K25 breach

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Photo by Stewart Macintyre

K25 breach
K25 breach

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Encounter Summary: 

After whales headed north past CWR, Dave, Stewart, Nicole, and Trey headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 1050. Since the whales were off Mitchell Bay, we were on scene in just a few minutes. However, there did not seem to be very many whales in the south Kellett Bluff area and the ones we caught glimpses of (a few K13's) were very spread out and appeared to be foraging. For about half an hour, we could not find any workable whales until a large group showed up right off Smugglers Cove.

We went over to the large group who ended up being J2, L87, the J14's, L4's, L26's and L43's and they were very tightly packed together heading slowly northwest. By about 1150, this group began oozing toward Kellett Bluff and we left them to check out the leaders who began to group up a little farther up the bluff. These were the K12's and K13's and they were loosely spread out in small groups and singles. K25 became very active and did a cartwheel, some inverted tail lobs, a pec slap, and a really nice breach. As the larger group behind the K12's and K13's moved past the bluff, it began to split up and some whales (L27, L86, and L106) caught up to the K's. The mixed group of K's and L's porpoised north briefly before slowing down a little again. Other groups and singles were spread across Haro Strait and we moved to another group at about 1245. This was the L26's and L43's again and they traveled north in a tight group.

The K13's and L4's stalled out off Tiptop Hill on Stuart island and the L26's and L43's caught up to them and joined that group. This group moved over to the Stuart Island shoreline and we moved up to another large group that was about a mile north of Turn Point. This was J2, L87, the J14's, J16's, and J19's and they were in a tight, slow moving group. We stayed with them just long enough to get proof of presence shots on the whales we had not seen yet today and then we headed back to the mixed K and L pod group who were just now passing Turn Point. The K and L pod group milled and loosened up a little but then turn up Boundary Pass. The J's and L87 reportedly went up Swanson Channel.

A few more whales showed up about a mile south of the K and L group closer to Stuart Island. This was K12, K37, and K43 and they were heading northwest up Boundary Pass in a tight group. K22 and K33 were about a half mile south of them, paralleling their course. We left them at about 1410 and found the L26's and L72's again about ten minutes later as they were heading up Boundary Pass. We stayed with them only briefly before dropping back to take a look at the K16's and K21 who were traveling in a tight group together. Orca followed this threesome past Blunden Island before dropping back to find another group we saw. This group completely vanished on us but we did find the L26's and L72's again and followed them past the entrance to Plumper Sound. We then found the L55's again as they were approaching the Java Islets in a tight group. The K13's were in a tight group on the inside of the Java Islets and were paralleling the L55's course. L95 was about two hundred yards behind the L55's and he was the last whale we saw as he passed us near the Java Islets at 1518 and we ended the encounter there at 1523.

We received reports during the day that suggested that the J11's, J17's, and J22's went down SJI and there was a possibility that the K14's and L47's were down there too.

23-Jul-15

1

62

10:53

15:23

Orca

Dave Ellifrit,
Stewart Macintyre,
Nicole Lee, Trey

J, K, L

J2, J14, J16, J19, J26, J36, J37, J40, J41, J42, J45, J49, J50, J51, J52

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

L27, L55, L72, L82, L86, L87, L92, L95, L103, L105, L106, L109, L116, L118

Haro Strait

48 35.10/123 11.97

48 45.49/123 06.73

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Encounter #62 - July 23, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272