Encounter #31 - April 17, 2016
J34
J34

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J14, J45, and J37
J14, J45, and J37

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J36 and J52
J36 and J52

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J34
J34

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/11

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

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17-Apr-16

2 & 3

31

15:07

17:16

Shachi and Orcinus

Ken Balcomb aboard Shachi, Dave Ellifrit aboard Orcinus

Southern Resident

J pod and L87

Haro Strait

48 34.03/123 15.00

48 35.42/123 14.07

Encounter Summary: 

After Orcinus had left transients near Mandarte Island but before making it to the residents who had been following them, Ken arrived on scene with the residents first in Shachi at 1507 off the south end of Sydney Island. Most of J pod were spread out in singles and small groups on the west side of Haro Strait with J2 in the lead as the whales headed north. A larger group consisting of the J14's, J22's, J35's, and J27 came together briefly before splitting up again. Shachi left the whales in western Haro Strait at 1615 north of Halibut Island.

Since Ken was on the residents in western Haro Strait, Orcinus headed for the Kellett Bluff area after the J16's had been reported in Open Bay. Orcinus got on J pod whales at Kellett Bluff at 1515. J36 and J52 were foraging off the cormorant rookery. Other whales were seen at the south end of the bluff and J19 went north toward Battleship Rock in the lead by herself. J41 and J51 showed up from the south as did J16 and J50. J16 and J50 sped north and caught up with J36 and J52 and they all headed inshore towards the north end of Henry Island. J42 showed up from the southwest and headed toward the rest of the J16's. J26 was foraging by himself off the south end of Kellett Bluff at least a half mile or more behind the other whales on the east side of Haro Strait. J26 finally headed north and Orcinus left him at 1615 heading inshore near the cormorant rookery at Kellett Bluff. Dave decided to go look for some of the other whales while Ken had ended his encounter with the J's on the west side of Haro Strait and headed home, making a brief stop to take a look at J26 on the way in.

Orcinus headed to the west side of the strait but the groups had broken up and the whales were extremely spread out. Orcinus only got a glimpse of J40 and J49 before giving up and heading back east to about mid-Haro Strait. A few of the J17's plus L87 were spread out heading slowly north toward Stuart Island. J27 was about three quarters of a mile behind these whales and Orcinus ended the encounter with him heading slowly north up Haro Strait about a half mile west of Tiptop Hill on Stuart Island at 1716. Later that evening, our friend and colleague Lisa Moorby reported that the whales passed Thieves Bay on N. Pender Island as they headed up Swanson Channel.