Encounter #77 - Aug 3, 2016
L47
L47

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L47
L47

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/4

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:

03-Aug-16

1

77

1654

1851

Shachi

Ken Balcomb and Quinlin Noble (intern)

Jpod and L pod subgroups

Strait of Juan de Fuca

48 22 749N/123 15 888W

48 33 35N/123 10 43W

Encounter Summary: 

J and L whales were reported inbound in groups off Victoria so Ken and intern, Quinlin Noble, embarked at 1604 in “Shachi” to meet them at the confluence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca before they typically spread out and head toward San Juan Island. It is rare anymore that we see more than a mother and one or two offspring are swimming together in the resident population – the observations are of whales very spread over huge areas of habitat stretching miles wide and ten or more miles in length.
We first encountered a tight group of J pod whales near Constance Bank headed toward Seabird Point on Discovery Island. Another group was several hundred yards away from them, and more groups of whales were flanking them out in the deep of the Strait. The spread was beginning. For the next two hours we picked out way toward False Bay, San Juan Island, and up Haro Strait toward Smuggler’s Cove finding a few opportunities to photo-identify individuals as the groups dissolved into “onsey-twoseys” that is the current distribution pattern of the SRKWs through much of their range. This was historically their distribution situation at times during winter months when the salmon were scarce between ‘runs’, but now it is much of the year as the abundance of Chinook salmon in the Salish Sea continues to dwindle. The whales need to eat salmon, not the words of bureaucrats and politicians.
The encounter ended at 1851 as we passed the Center for Whale Research and waved to our colleagues on the porch. J34 waved back offshore as we headed to Snug Harbor and called it a day at 1908.

Notes-Comments: