J42 and J51
J42 and J51

Photo by Ken Balcomb

K38
K38

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Seiner day
Seiner day

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J42 and J51
J42 and J51

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Encounter Summary: 

This morning the southern resident killer whales were off the west side of San Juan Island in two relatively large groups travelling ‘up-island’ at daybreak. As they travelled up Haro Strait the lead group composed of J and K pods continued northwest while the other group composed of most of L pod. The L’s turned and went back down island just before reaching Lime Kiln State Park, and the J’s and K’s continued up island, passing the Center for Whale Research at 10 AM. A vessel encounter with J’s and K’s was initiated by Ken Balcomb and Gail Richard in “Chimo” at 1030, by which time the whales were passing by Kellett Bluff (48 degrees 34 minutes North by 123 degrees 11 minutes West).

The primary reason for conducting the encounter was to monitor the health condition of J39 who was documented with sport fishing gear trailing from his mouth on August 1 by Barbara Bender aboard the sailing vessel “Peniel” near False Bay, San Juan Island. J39 is a twelve year-old male and is apparently in very good health today as he “played” with his juvenile whale friends while the adult whales were apparently “fishing” in a relaxed spread-out  pattern heading northwest up Haro Strait and through Boundary Pass where we left them at 1226 just short of the Canada border (48 degrees 42 minutes North by 123 degrees 14 minutes West). The whales continued up Swanson Channel and travelled northeast through Active Pass by day’s end. In previous encounters there has been a mix of J,K, and L whales in most travelling groups, but today the L’s (except L87 who is still travelling with J pod) have separated temporarily.

 

In the morning of 27 August, J and K pods were reported near Sand Head at the Fraser River entrance, and L whales were reported near the ODAS buoy in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca north of Dungeness Spit. The L54’s were off Bellevue Point late in the day on the 27th August, while other L’s were off False Bay, San Juan Island. In a few days we may be able to obtain fisheries data to indicate the success of the human harvest of salmonids in the region. The whales’ presence in the area seems to indicate they have been successfully harvesting.

26-Aug-15

1

72

10:31

12:26

Chimo

Ken Balcomb, Gail Richard

SRKW

J pod, K pod, L87

Kellett Bluff

48.34.57/123.11.44

48.42.11/123.14.04

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Encounter #72 - Aug 26, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272