Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Photo by Ken Balcomb

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J17 and J53
J17 and J53

Photo by D. Giles

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Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Encounter Summary: 

After receiving reports of residents heading south in Haro Strait, Dave and Giles met at Snug Harbor and left aboard Orca at 1150. About ten minutes later, we were on our first whales about 3/4s of a mile southeast of Kelp Reef. J27 and a few other whales were spread out and pointed south while foraging. J27 did three cartwheels in a row, took a hard left, and then traveled east toward SJ Island. J19 and J39 were also foraging in the same area. A female and a juvenile who came together and headed south ended up being K27 and K44.

We next saw J2, K34, and L90 briefly in a group together before they split up again. At about 1245 or so, we began being bombarded with reports from several people that a new calf was seen with J17. Peregrine was with some of the J17's about a 1/2 mile west of Smugglers Cove and we arrived at that spot by 1300. J17 and the new calf designated J53 zig-zagged a little before heading south and then southwest. J38 and a few other spread out whales were in the area too. J44 joined J17 and the new calf by 1330 and the threesome traveled together for fifteen minutes before being joined by J35. J47 was also in the area but did not join the other four as they headed southwest in a tight group.

We left the J17's by 1403 and headed a little west where J34 and L95 were traveling south together. L95 breached twice. J28 and J46 were also traveling south loosely together in the same area as J34 and L95. J28 and J46 merged toward the rest of the J17's but never quite joined them. J39 and L106 were fooling around together in the vicinity and the pair were briefly joined by J26 before he split off again.

All the whales seemed to be heading southwest toward Seabird Point on Discovery Island. The J17's were loosely joined by J39 and L106, with L86, J40 and J42 also showing up. This large loose group was mostly social as they headed southwest past Seabird Point. The J22's were about a half mile behind the other group and also headed southwest past Seabird Point at a medium pace.

Again, about a half mile behind the J22's but coming more from the east, was a loose group of J27, L95, and the K12's. They headed west past Discovery Island before jumping into and surfing the wake of a large yacht. J27 did another cartwheel once he was done surfing. We then moved a little south and found L72, L105, and J45 traveling together. There were other small groups and individuals starting to show up and we soon found J51 traveling with J19 and J49. J37 and J41 were also in the area. J39 and L106 were still goofing around together and K33 was also seen steaming southwest a couple miles southeast of Trial Island. All the J14's joined up in a tight group with L72 and L105. We left those groups and individuals still heading southwest at 1607.

Almost a mile behind the other whales were several more groups coming from the east. The first group was L90, L92, L91, and L122 and the rest of the L47's were in a tight group a couple hundred yards to the northeast of the L26's and L91's. K27 and K44 were next, a few hundred yards ahead of the rest of the K13's who were traveling quickly southwest in a loose group. Another 1/4 mile to the southeast were the K14's in a tight group. The final group we saw bringing up the rear about another 1/2 mile to the northeast of the K14's was the K16's and K21 traveling southwest in a tight threesome and Orca ended the encounter with them about four miles SSE of trial Island at 1651.


1 & 2




Orca and Tonto

Dave Ellifrit and D. Giles aboard Orca,

Ken Balcomb aboard Tonto

J, K, L

J2, J14, J17, J19, J22, J26, J27, J28, J34, J35, J37, J38, J39, J40, J41, J42, J44, J45, J46, J47, J49, J51, and new calf J53

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

L47, L72, L83, L86, L90, L91, L92, L95, L105, L106, L110, L115, and L122

Haro Strait/

Juan de Fuca Strait

48 32.25/123 11.76

48 20.22/123 14.47



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Encounter #92 - Oct 24, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits