Encounter #8 - Jan 19, 2016
J54 and J46
J54 and J46

Photo by Mark Malleson

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L87
L87

Photo by Mark Malleson

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J27
J27

Photo by Mark Malleson

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J54 and J46
J54 and J46

Photo by Mark Malleson

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Photos taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Observers:

 

Pods/ecotype:

Location:

19-Jan-16

1

8

10:10

14:00

Mark and Hannah Malleson

J pod and L87

Juan de Fuca Strait

Encounter Summary: 

Following the exciting news of a new baby discovered in J pod in Puget Sound on 18 January 2016 by NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center researchers, faint J pod calls were heard around 3:30 AM on the Lime Kiln hydrophones on 19 January in Haro Strait. Mark and Hannah Malleson commandeered a vessel of opportunity from Sooke Harbor, British Columbia at 10:10 AM on 19 January to search the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca for a possible encounter with whales to confirm which individual is the mother of the new baby. That confirmation remained uncertain in the NOAA encounter (Facebook link).

We searched the Canada side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sooke to Jordan River, and back toward Sooke, passing clear of a US Coast Guard live firing exercise off Sheringham Point before locating the whales several miles offshore of Otter Point at 1230. By that time, the Coast Guard personnel had finished their exercise and were appreciative of the report of whales in the vicinity. The whales were spread broadly across the Strait as far as the American side and were heading west toward the Pacific Ocean. By the time we left the whales at 2:00 PM off Sheringham Point we were only able to photo-document fourteen whales of J pod in the very dispersed travel/foraging pattern, but it appears that representatives of all subgroupings of the pod were present. The sea and observation conditions were not conducive for confirming anything about the new calf that was reported by NOAA, and the whales continued heading west. We have to await their return or an ocean encounter to check on the pod status.