Encounter #73 - July 21, 2016
J38
J38

Photo by Mellisa Pinnow

L41
L41

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L25 and L41
L25 and L41

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J38
J38

Photo by Mellisa Pinnow

1/13

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

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Vessel:

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21-Jul-16

1

73

Orcinus

Dave Ellifrit

Melisa Pinnow

J, L pod

Haro Strait

Encounter Summary: 

On the morning of July 21st, Dave and Melisa departed Snug Harbor at 10:34 aboard Orcinus in an attempt to get better ID shots of the L12s. J pod and the L12s were reported to be very spread out over miles of San Juan Island shoreline, as well as far offshore. The encounter started at 10:53 with nearly all of the J16s northbound northwest of Lime Kiln State Park. Ahead of them was J2, the J19s, and likely L87. Trailing the J16s off Deadman Bay was J26. At 11:10, the J28s were spotted northbound off Pile Point and just behind them off Kanaka Bay were L22 and L89. L22 and L89 were milling about for salmon while also generally pointed north. Soon after, the J14s were found spread out off False Bay and they were also milling about.

Dave and Melisa then headed offshore to look at other orcas that whale watching boats were with and at 12:05 saw J39 northbound. They then headed south and spotted more blows, which were J27 and likely J31. They then headed back into shore to try to pick up more orcas that had been seen near Eagle Point. L89 and L22 surfaced off Eagle Point but more blows could be seen off False Bay. At 12:57, Dave and Melisa found the J22s loosely spread out and milling off False Bay.

Since there weren’t any Ls besides the L22s at San Juan Island, the search headed far offshore toward Hein Bank. Once out near the bank at 13:26, multiple blows that were not produced orcas were seen. Surprisingly, the blows turned out to be from minke whales, whose blows are rarely seen in the area. There were at least four minkes, if not five or six, feeding on bait balls all around the boat. One of the minke even lunged through the water on its side with either its pectoral fin or fluke sticking out of the water.

Dave and Melisa then headed over to whale watching boats in the distance that had the L94s traveling quickly northeast towards San Juan Island. A few proof of presence shots were taken and then it was time to find the other Ls. At 13:54, L85 was spotted eastbound and paralleling him off in the distance were two more blows. These whales were L77 and L119 traveling side by side and also eastbound. More time was then spent with then L85 and a perfect ID shot of his left side was achieved. A BBC camera man then transferred over to Orcinus from Morning Star to film Dave and Melisa working with L85. Nearby whale watching boats had two more whales and they were L25 and L41 traveling side by side, the final two L12s we needed to check off. Both whales were arching high and perfect ID shots of their left sides were acquired too.

The BBC camera man then transferred back over to Morning Star. Back inshore at 16:04, the L22s and L94s were found milling off of False Bay. More time was then spent with L25 and L41 off Hannah Heights to get ID photos of their right sides with some success. Up island from them were the J17s and J22s spread out off the San Juan County Park in singles and small groups slowly southbound. J38 pectoral fin and tail slapped multiple times, and then J34 started pectoral fin slapping too. The encounter ended at 17:41 a little north of the County Park.