J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J38

J38

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J50

J50

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J31 and J35

J31 and J35

Photo by D. Giles

L87

L87

Photo by D. Giles

J38 and J45

J38 and J45

Photo by D. Giles

J27

J27

Photo by D. Giles

J39

J39

Photo by D. Giles

J17 and J53

J17 and J53

Photo by D. Giles

Encounter #33 - May 7, 2017

Date: 07-May-17

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 33

Enc Start Time: 12:25

Enc End Time: 16:25

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit and D. Giles

Pods or ecotype: J pod and L87

Location: Haro Strait and eastern Juan de Fuca Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 24.49/123 15.09

End Lat/Long: 48 40.28/123 14.23

 

Encounter Summary:

Ken called in the morning reporting that whales were heading east off Sooke. After waiting for the whales to get a little closer, Giles and Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left at 1145. We found our first whales about a half mile east of Trial Island at 1225. This was J35 along with J47 and J45. J17, J44, and J53 were a little behind the others and quickly caught up and the whales all traveled east in a loose group before turning north once they past Seabird Point. There were other whales well on their way across Haro Strait heading toward the west side of San Juan Island so we moved ahead and briefly saw J40 and J27 spread out heading northeast toward False Bay. Since the leaders had already hit the west side, we decided to move up toward Bellevue Point and let the leaders come to us.

J19 was in the lead and she headed north by herself after milling briefly off Bellevue Point. J41 and J51 were in a loose pair several hundred yards behind J19 and they too continued north. J39 was behind them and he chased a fish off Smallpox Bay before continuing north. J17, J53, and one or two other whales were farther inshore toward the county park. A ways behind these whales were J27 and J31 traveling in a tight pair as they passed CWR although J31 soon broke off and began heading closer to shore toward a couple of other whales who were tight along the shoreline.

We waited in Mitchell Bay for about a half hour before the next group arrived. This was all the J16s plus J40 and they were traveling slowly in a tight group. We left them off the south end of Kellett Bluff at 1515 and they began spread out after we left. Another half mile behind the J16s was another group that included L87, J38, and J45 who were socializing with one another. As this threesome made it to the south tip of Kellett Bluff, a few other whales could be seen around the corner at the west end of the mouth of Open Bay. One of these whales was J49 and he joined in the fun with L87, J38, and J45. A threesome of females formed ahead of the boys and this was J22, J37, and J40 traveling north together in a tight group.

The L87 group were the trailing whales so, since the only whale we had not seen at that point was J46, we decided to head north toward the leading groups to see if we could find her. There were two groups paralleling each other mid-strait off Spieden Island. We headed to the slightly more westerly group which included J27, J31, J35, and also J46! They were traveling slowly in a tight group. A couple of hundred yards to the east was a looser group that looked to be the rest of the J17s plus J39. J39 was rolling around with a couple of juveniles who were probably J44 and J47. We left these groups a little after 1600 and headed back to take one more look at the J16s who were back together in a tight, slow moving group. We stayed with the J16s for less than ten minutes before ending the encounter at 1625 about a half mile south of Turn Point.

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Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

2017 Encounters