J39 and K27

J39 and K27

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J27

J27

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the K13s

the K13s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K16 and K21

K16 and K21

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

whales with tanker and tug

whales with tanker and tug

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K26 and K14

K26 and K14

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

hunting eagle

hunting eagle

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K35 and K16

K35 and K16

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K27, K44, and K34

K27, K44, and K34

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K35 and K21

K35 and K21

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Encounter #15 - Feb 16, 2017

Date: 16-Feb-17

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 15

Enc Start Time: 11:55

Enc End Time: 17:15

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: J and K pods

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 33.44/123 11.31

End Lat/Long: 48 42.53/123 14.88

 

Encounter Summary:

Jeanne Hyde called Dave at home around 1020 to report that she had spotted the whales she had been hearing on the hydrophones out near Beaumont Shoal. Since the water was a bit lumpy at the time where the whales were, Dave put himself on standby. Jeanne called back around 1115 to report that the whales were now heading north and the water got nicer the farther up Haro Strait they went.

Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left aboard “Orcinus” at 1145. With the help of Tom and Jane Cogan looking from shore, Dave found his first whale about a mile west of CWR at 1155. This was J39. As J39 headed north, other whales started appearing but they were very spread out. The next whale seen was K12 and then K37 and K43-all three traveling or foraging by themselves. K22 and K33 were seen next and they were also loosely spread out as they traveled north about a mile or so offshore of mid-Andrews Bay. The pair tightened up a little later. K14 and K26 were seen together inshore of and behind the K22s.

There were a few whales far inshore near San Juan Island but more whales seemed to be appearing to the west of the border so “Orcinus” headed that direction. Passing a few single K12s and K14s again as well as J22 and J38 on the way, the next group “Orcinus” encountered was K20, K38, and K25 traveling together not far from Kelp Reef. A little to the northwest of the K13s was another tight group of three and this was K16, K35, and K21. There was another larger group about a half mile to the northwest and closer to D’Arcy Island. This group had all the J11s, J14s, along with K27, K44, and K34 in it. They were in a tight group heading slowly north-northwest. K26 joined them a little later. The group soon turned due north with a bit more of an angle back across the strait toward Stuart Island.

By about 1620, most of the groups that had been on the Canadian side of the strait moved closer to mid-strait or the Stuart Island side as they approached Turn Point. There were still a few stragglers to the west and to the north of Turn Point. “Orcinus” tried to end the encounter at about 1645 around a mile and a half northwest of Turn Point with the whales still spread out in groups and singles heading toward Swanson Channel. Upon turning the boat around for home, a few more spread out whales could be seen way over on the Canadian side of the strait. A quick picture of a backlit juvenile revealed J47 so that might have been where some of the J17s had been hiding. Since daylight was fading, “Orcinus” headed south toward home. At 1705, between Battleship Rock and Kellett Bluff, Dave spotted a bull who turned out to be J26. J26 cruised slowly north and “Orcinus” left him at 1715 off Battleship.

Jane and Tom Cogan had been out in their boat “Morning Star” and got photos of the J19s and the rest of the J17s. Jeanne Hyde had photographed the rest of the J16s from shore at Lime Kiln earlier which means the only two whales we could not find today were K13 and L87.

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Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 388

2017 Encounters