Encounter #46 - May 16, 2016
Socializing transients
Socializing transients

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Socializing T's
Socializing T's

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

20160516DKE_SJ1-016_T123 and T123A at Barren Island
20160516DKE_SJ1-016_T123 and T123A at Barren Island

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Socializing transients
Socializing transients

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Photos taken under Federal Permits



Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:




Orca ID's:







Begin Lat/Long: End Lat/Long:


1 & 2





Dave Ellifrit


T36A, T36A1, T36A2, T36A3, T65A, T65A2, T65A3, T65A4, T65A5, T65B, T65B1, T99, T99B, T99C, T99D, T93, T97, T123, T123A, and T123C

Spieden Channel

48 37.44/123 10.78

48.37.63/123 10.50

Encounter Summary: 

Jane Cogan called in the morning to relay a report of a sighting of killer whales around 9am near Jones Island. Around 11am, BC Nova found the whales near Battleship Rock. Since that was close by, Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orcinus at 1125. Dave got on scene at 1135 as he came around Battleship Rock and the whales were over in the direction of Pearl Island's north shoreline. Dave went around the outside of the fleet and positioned himself near Barren Island. Luckily the whales angled offshore and surfaced from a long dive right at Barren Island. Several of the juveniles charged around the west side of the small island while underwater and put up a two foot standing wave that greatly upset a few Canada geese stationed on the rock. Dave stayed just long enough for one pass by and confirmed that it was the T65A's, T65B's, and the T123's traveling together. The whales continued east toward Davidson Head on the north tip of San Juan Island and Dave ended the encounter at 1145. Dave was back at Snug at 1205 and back at CWR soon after. Dave was feeling mighty proud of himself for getting out on whales and then home and working on the computer again inside of an hour.

However, about an hour later, another large group of transients were found near Jones Island in the vicinity of the others and Dave decided to go out again to confirm who the other whales were. Dave left Snug Harbor again aboard Orcinus at 1315 and got on scene at 1335 about 1 mile southwest of Jones Island. There was one large group of whales mid-channel northbound again before angling more west toward Spieden Channel. Thinking the new whales were in a group behind the large group, Dave passed them up to head toward some blows over near Jones Island's west shoreline. This turned out to be the three T123's and they appeared to be resting by themselves after being mixed in with the T65A's and T65B's earlier. They also turned west and slowly followed the rowdier group by about half a mile.

Orcinus headed back toward the larger group that included the T36A's, T65A's, T65B's, and T99's as they approached Spieden Channel. This group was extremely active and social with lots of splashing. Some individuals would briefly start porpoising before the group would stall out and start milling vigorously. On the way to the larger group, both T93 and T97 appeared to the northeast of the large group about midway between Jones Island and Green Point on the east tip of Spieden Island. T93 and T97 were separated by a couple of hundred yards and generally pointed toward Minke Lake. T97 did several lazy taillobs and breached once. T93 did two belly flops and the two whales eventually came together briefly before heading back toward the other whales entering Spieden Channel.

All the whales moved closer to the north tip of SJI while in Spieden Channel with the large active group in the lead. T93 and T97 separated again and trailed the large group separately. The T123's also moved toward SJI a ways behind the others. The large group filed past the entrance to Roche Harbor and right next to Barren Island again with T93 and T97 once again loosely together a hundred or so yards behind. The T123's brought up the rear and Orcinus ended the encounter at 1448 about a half mile northeast of Battleship Rock with all the whales pointed west northwest.