J53 plays with J17 and J44

J53 plays with J17 and J44

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J17 spyhop

J17 spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J47 tail lob

J47 tail lob

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J38 and L87

J38 and L87

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26 and J16 turn back toward San Juan Island

J26 and J16 turn back toward San Juan Island

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26 in weed line

J26 in weed line

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J pod

J pod

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the J16s

the J16s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J53, J17, and J49

J53, J17, and J49

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Encounter #40 - May 31, 2017

Date: 31-May-17

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 40

Enc Start Time: 07:45

Enc End Time: 13:30

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: J pod and L87

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 28.74/123 08.44

End Lat/Long: 48 34.13/123 11.25

 

Encounter Summary:

After Jane Cogan called Dave at about 0635 to report that she was seeing J pod whales heading south past her place, Dave skipped breakfast, got his gear, and headed down to the boat and left Snug Harbor at 0725. Dave eventually caught up to the whales off Hannah Heights at 0745.
The whales were very spread out-from the San Juan Island shoreline in the Kanaka/False Bay area to west of the Beaumont Shoal/Kelp Reef line. J26 was the first whale encountered and he was milling while doing only two breaths before going on a long dive. Dave left J26 after he finally took a few extra breaths before giving a half-hearted arch at 0805. About ten minutes later a couple of threesomes formed to the southeast off False Bay and other individuals began showing up too-all pointed southwest. By 0830, a large group had formed that included J22, the J16s minus J26, the J17s minus J46, the J19s, and J37s. This large tight group traveled very slowly southwest toward Seabird Point in a classic resting formation. J26 joined the large group at 0850 and the J16s moved just a wee bit ahead and on the periphery of the larger group and their surfacing’s were un-synched with the others.
At about 0925, a threesome and a pair showed up from the south. The threesome was J31, J40, and J46 and they milled a bit before joining the larger group who also began milling. The pair were L87 and J38 and they traveled north tight together until they also joined the loosening larger group. A little after 0950, a few other whales showed up from the southwest heading northeast toward the large group. J31 briefly turned back southwest to meet the new arrivals who were J27, J39, and J45. These whales also joined the large group and, after some milling, all the whales turned north and started traveling slowly back toward San Juan Island. By 1025, most of the whales were in one large loose group heading north toward Lime Kiln State Park. J22 and J38 had moved several hundred yards to the southeast of the large group where they foraged loosely spread from one another. Around 1100ish, J22 and J38 had tightened up and had moved over to the SJI shoreline near Edwards Point while the large group hit the SJI shoreline around 1115 near Deadmans Bay and began to spread out.
After leaving the J22s at 1045, Dave headed north well away from any whales and headed up to the north end of Mitchell Bay to wait for them. The J19s blew by around 1230 with J19 in the lead. They stalled out and began milling off the south end of Kellett Bluff. The next group showed up at the south end of Mitchell Bay at 1250. This was the J17s along with J40 and J45 and they were moving slowly north in a loose group with a lot of milling and socializing. J17, J44, and J53 moved a little north of the others and began rolling around together with J53 being pushed around at the surface. J17 spyhopped twice. The rest of the J17s along with J40 and J45 were also tactile and rolling around with one another. J47 did one cartwheel and he was seen playing with a piece of kelp in his mouth. Several hundred yards to the south of these whales were J31 and J39 traveling slowly north in a loose pair. All the other whales seemed to have stalled out in Andrews Bay or had moved way offshore. Dave ended the encounter in Mitchell Bay at 1330.

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

2017 Encounters