Encounter #67 - July 7, 2016
J41
J41

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J51
J51

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J41
J41

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/6

Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 288

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Vessel:

Observers:

 

Pods/ecotype:

Location:

Begin Lat/Long: End Lat/Long:

07-Jul-16

1

67

1433

1620

Shachi

Ken Balcomb,

Florian Graner

Resident J Pod subgroup

Haro Strait

48 28 27.99N/123 5 51.48W

48 34 21.162N/123 11 44.89W

Encounter Summary: 

The subgroup of J Pod comprised of J2 et. al. was found mid-day near the south end of Lopez Island as they were coming back toward Haro Strait along the coastline of Lopez. Ken launched in “Shachi” to encounter the very spread out group as the whales came toward False Bay, San Juan Island following their typical foraging pattern. The encounter began at 1433 just off Pile Point with the whales very spread out moving northwest against the ebbing tide just as it was turning to flood. The whale-watching boats were very disciplined and staying in a line about one half mile offshore of San Juan Island as the whales swam along conducting very long and unpredictable dives in the corridor between the shore and the vessel-based observers. L87 was the offshore flanking whale, and he zigged and zagged a half mile or so between surfacings with very unpredictable intervals on either side of the line of boats. “Mojo” was in trail of the whales and a NOAA Enforcement boat was in trail of the whale-watch boats, and the whole scene moved gradually up Haro Strait, past Hannah Heights, Lime Kiln State Park, and San Juan County Park. “Shachi” had come down the strait about one quarter mile offshore and “parked in the path” of the whales about one mile ahead of them to study the whale and vessel pattern before initiating the encounter. Just as we began to attempt paralleling the whales at a distance of three hundred yards, the NOAA boat came over to check out our permit paperwork and we ended up in trail of the procession with “Moja”.
Things livened up as the whales swam past the Center for Whale Research near Sunset Point and J41 and J51 breached for the cameras. Although we already knew that J51 is a male, he confirmed it again, and his mom confirmed that she is still nursing. The encounter was ended at 1620 in Open Bay as the whales continued up Haro Strait in a very spread out pattern.