Encounter #122 - Nov 25, 2016
Whalewatchers at Lime Kiln
Whalewatchers at Lime Kiln

Photo by Ken Balcomb

K21
K21

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Advancing Storm_20161125KCB_SJ1-068
Advancing Storm_20161125KCB_SJ1-068

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Whalewatchers at Lime Kiln
Whalewatchers at Lime Kiln

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/10

Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 388

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Vessel:

Observers:

Pods/ecotype:

Location:

Begin Lat/Long: End Lat/Long:

25-Nov-16

1

122

1334

1543

Chimo

Ken Balcomb

J and K subgroups

Haro Strait

48 30 12N/123 11 30W

48 27 32N/123 10 49W

Encounter Summary:

The International ferry from Friday Harbor to Sidney reported about ten killer whales splashing and breaching near Mandarte Island at 1130, so I made the rash assumption, that they acted like Transients, I thought to myself, celebrating or conducting a predation event. But, a few minutes later Jeanne Hyde reported hearing faint J and K calls on the Orcasound hydrophones that had recently been repaired. At 1218, with ‘Big Eyes’ I saw distant whales in mid-Haro Strait heading south very spread out and taking long dives. They acted like Transient,s I thought to myself, but at 1237 a distant male appeared with an open saddle! J26!! Another more distant whale in the lead had a fin shape like that of L87, but the atmospheric distortion and the pixilation in photographs taken at three or four miles could easily have allowed interpretation of the image to be that of a Loch Ness monster. I had to go and check things out, although I knew that with whales spread in onseys-twoseys all over Haro Strait there was no way that any encounter would yield a comprehensive assessment of whales present. Fortunately, Tom and Jane Cogan were also curious what whales were there and they ventured in “Morningstar” toward the Canadian side of the border while I ‘worked’ the American side. We could both see several whale watch boats in the far distance that indicated there were other whales that we did not see, but by all accounts only Ks and Js were present, including of course the possible L87 who has adopted (or been adopted by) Granny (J2).
A late afternoon report of many of these same whales on 26 November south of Constance Bank suggests that they are still in the area. Transients are being reported in the south and the north in Puget Sound.