Encounter #17 - Mar 12, 2016
J27 off Turn Point
J27 off Turn Point

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

rainbow over Spieden Island
rainbow over Spieden Island

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J17 and J53
J17 and J53

Photo by D. Giles

J27 off Turn Point
J27 off Turn Point

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Photos taken under Federal Permits




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Dave Ellifrit and D. Giles

J pod and L87


Haro Strait

48 35.73/123 15.24

Encounter Summary: 

Jane Cogan called Dave at home late morning to report she was hearing resident calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. The whales were chatty, but not very close, for about three or so minutes before they went silent again. The day was breezy with a weather report indicating it was going to get worse as the day progressed. The whales did not materialize right away despite people like Jeanne Hyde searching from shore and we went into stand down mode. However, almost two hours later, Giles called Dave to say she was seeing whales off Hannah Heights. As the weather report did not sound encouraging, Dave drove to the west side to see what he could see from Land Bank. The water was not as bad as feared but the whales were very spread out. Other than J17 and J53, who were tight together, the few whales seen from shore were in singles who were foraging and slowly heading north. J14, J35, L87, J45, and J47 were also seen by Dave from Land Bank.

Since the bad weather seemed to be a little delayed, Dave and Giles decided to go out and see who they could find. They left Snug Harbor aboard Orcinus around 1500. Orcinus first found J17 and J53 about a half mile northeast of Sydney Island at 1521. The pair was rapidly heading west. Other whales were in singles but were few and far between and it was hard to locate many of them. We saw J26 foraging by himself as he headed up Haro Strait mid-channel. J35 was foraging nearer to the Halibut Island shoreline. Ten minutes later, we saw J40 and J44 spread out but in the same area about halfway between Halibut and Gooch Islands. J14 appeared from the southeast and she headed quickly west past us.

Around 1620, we saw L87 and J47 separated by about a hundred yards a quarter of a mile northeast of Tom Point on Gooch Island slowly headed north. Around this time, several squalls were blowing through out of the northwest and we briefly got pelted by pea sized hail. Luckily for us, the new boat has a canopy at the moment so we were mostly protected from the down pour. The sun appeared, making for pretty lighting, but the whales were still hard to find. We found J34 traveling north by himself mid-Haro Strait off Stuart Island. J27 was about a half mile east of J34 but still a ways off Turn Point. J27 was coming up twice before going down on a long dive as he headed northwest and we soon gave up on him and the encounter at 1710 about 2 miles west of Turn Point.