Encounter #50 - June 3, 2016
L103 and L123
L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L123
L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Race Rocks
Race Rocks

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L103 and L123
L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

1/22

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

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03-Jun-16

1& 2

50

11:58

13:51

Orcinus

Dave Ellifrit, D. Giles

L pod

L47, L55, L72, L82, L83, L86, L90, L91, L92, L103, L105, L106, L109, L110, L115, L116, L118, L122, L123

Juan de Fuca Strait

48 21.56/123 27.00

48 18.18/123 33.14

Encounter Summary: 

In the late morning, when Giles and Dave were just about to get interviewed by a film crew, the news came over the radio that someone found resident killer whales close to Clover Point in Victoria. The whales were moving west but slowly and they were close enough that it was agreed that we had to go. The film crew was amazingly understanding and Giles and Dave soon geared up and left for Snug Harbor.

Orcinus left Snug at 1115 and got on scene a couple miles south of Albert Head with some of the southernmost whales. The whales were spread out north to south in ones and twos and were heading slowly southwest. The first two whales we saw were L91 and L122. L110 was a little northeast of these two and soon came nearer to them but didn't join while L83 was by herself a few hundred yards to the northwest. We saw another female a quarter mile to the south of us that we later realized was probably L47. We moved north a little and next saw L92 and L90 who were loosely spread. A little to the northwest of these two we found L105 and L106 horsing around with one another. We could see L72 foraging by herself several hundred yards to the west and also caught a glimpse of L86 even farther away than that to the northwest. We saw a mom and calf behind us and dropped back to find L103 and L123 together with L118 paralleling them about forty yards to the north.
We next moved to the whales who were farthest inshore to the north. As expected, these were the rest of the L55's and they were now moving almost south with the shoreline as they headed toward Race Passage. L109 and L116 were rolling around together as these whales began to group up. L55 spyhopped once. The L72's appeared together up ahead as well as the L86's and both these groups joined the L55's as they all porpoised through Race Passage together in a tight group. This group began to disperse once they were west of Race Rocks and the individuals and pairs continued southwest out the strait. L105 and L106 got together again to play around some more. We were hoping to find L47 and L115 as they were the only two whales present we hadn't seen yet. We took a look to the southwest first, seeing L103, L123, and L118 again, before noticing boats watching another group of whales coming through Race Passage. We headed back over there for a quick pass and saw that the group included L90, L92, and all the L47's including L47 herself and L115. Since we now had photos of all the members of the L4's, L26's, L47's, and L72's, we decided to end the encounter there at 1351 just a little east of Becher Bay.