J34 with rake marks
J34 with rake marks

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J27
J27

J17
J17

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J34 with rake marks
J34 with rake marks

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/11

Encounter Summary: 

After some whales headed north past CWR, Dave, his parents, and Candice headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 1000. Since the whales were spread out in Mitchell Bay, we were on them just a few minutes later. We saw members of the K13's and K14's spread out in small groups and they had already turned around and were headed south again. Most of the whales who were in Mitchell Bay moved in to the SJI shoreline and headed south in a large group.

We left the large group of K's to look for other whales further south and found another group off Lime Kiln but they went into the park and disappeared before we could get a good look at them. Orca went further south to wait for the whales to pass the Land Bank area and had the J16's pass us a little while later. The K pod whales, including the K12's, were closer to shore near Hannah Heights and we heard boats talking about more J pod whales heading north from Eagle Point.

By about 1150, the J pod whales coming from the south began merging with the southbound K pod whales and formed a large resting group off Pile Point. For the next hour and a half this large mixed group of J's and K's (and L87) went back and forth, up and down the west side of SJI near the shoreline. They made it all the way up to Lime Kiln again before splitting up and committing to a southward direction while spreading out.

We finally got close enough to some whales for some decent ID photos off Pile Point again when we encountered members of the J11's, J19's, and K14's that were loosely spread around 1330. About 20 minutes later we found the J16's spread out and foraging off Kanaka Bay. The J16's continued south off False Bay and Orca pointed north to find some more whales who were spread out and heading south.
We briefly saw L87 and then a few members of the K13's, and then some K12's off False Bay before spending a little time with J34 to document the rake marks up his dorsal fin he had acquired earlier in the month. These rakes have also given him a new kink in his fin that he had not had before. We had first noticed that J34 had new rakes up the length of his dorsal on July 5th and this was our first good look at him since then. Almost all resident males get raked up their dorsal fins by another whale at some point in their lives and they usually heal up just fine.
After J34 arched nicely for us, we headed north and saw a couple J17's in the distance near shore at Hannah Heights before ending the encounter there at 1523. Ken went out later that evening in Chimo and had a brief encounter with members of the J17's and J22's who were spread out and foraging in the Hannah Heights area.

28-Jul-15

1

63

10:07

15:20

Orca

Dave Ellifrit,

Candice Smith, Kay Ellifrit, Laura Ellifrit

J and K pods plus L87

J2, J14, J16, J17, J19, J22, J26, J27, J28, J34, J36, J39, J41, J42, J44, J45, J46, J50, J51, J52

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

L87

Haro Strait

48 34.51/123 10.62

48 29.29/123 07.43

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Encounter #63 - July 28, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272