Encounter #51 - June 5, 2016
L103 and L123
L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L103 spyhop
L103 spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

and J17
and J17

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L103 and L123
L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit


Photos taken under Federal Permits



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Chimo and Orcinus

Ken Balcomb,
Erin Heydenreich on Chimo
Dave Ellifrit on Orcinus

J, K, and L pods

Haro Strait

48 34.29/123 11.40

48 31.00/123 09.00

Encounter Summary: 

The day started with Jeanne Hyde calling Ken at 0520 with news that some J pod calls were audible on the Lime Kiln hydrophone, and by 0540 a few whales were seen coming up Haro Strait off Bellevue Point. Ken set out in “Chimo” at 0600 and encountered the J16’s in Open Bay at 0603. Other whales were spotted offshore of Henry Island, and for the next hour small groups of J and K whales were encountered heading up Haro Strait. Ken went back to Snug Harbor at 0738 to pick up Erin and by the time they got back out the encountered L and J whales heading up strait off Mitchell Bay – almost a Superpod! Ken and Erin then continued on to Victoria for a pre-arranged event celebrating World Ocean Day at Fisherman’s wharf. 
Ken had called Dave at 0630 to report that he was with some J16’s and other spread out whales at Kellett Bluff. Jane Cogan called a little later to say that some K’s and L’s were also present. Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard Orcinus at 0820 and, five minutes later, was on whales in Mitchell Bay. There was a large group of whales slowly northbound toward Kellett Bluff. The J11’s, J17’s, and J22’s were tight together and loosely separated from another tight group consisting of the L4’s, L26’s, L47’s, and L72’s who were just slightly behind and to the side of the J pod whales. All the whales continued slowly north toward Kellett Bluff fighting an outgoing tide. By the time the whales reached the cormorant rookery at Kellett Bluff, the J pod whales started to get some separation from the L pod whales as the L’s slowed down even more. By 0920, the J pod whales were about a half mile north of the L pod whales but still south of Battleship Rock. While the L’s began milling back near Kellett, the J pod whales picked up a little steam and continued north in a tight group with no one watching them at the time.
The L pod whales milled around near the north end of Kellett Bluff before finally turning back south. Orcinus ended its part of the encounter at north Kellett Bluff at 1010 with the L pod whales spreading out and traveling south. All members of the J11’s, J17’s, J22’s, L4’s, L26’s, L47’s, and L72’s were photographed.
The L pod whales worked the west side of San Juan Island for the rest of the day, and at the end of the day were heading back down island toward Eagle Point. On their return from Victoria, Ken and Erin encountered them again offshore from the Center for Whale Research and went south with them until Lime Kiln Point. The other J and K pod whales had continued up Haro and Swanson Straits and through Active Pass during the day, and at least some of them went further up Georgia Strait.