Encounter #46 - June 25, 2017
Dave and J27
J50 and J16
J44 and L87
J44 and K26
J44 and L87
J39 and K26
K14 and K26
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Encounter Number: 46
Enc Start Time: 07:05
Enc End Time: 09:05
Vessel: Mike 1, Shachi, and Orcinus
Observers: Mark and Hannah Malleson in Mikle 1,
Ken Balcomb and Gail Richards in Shachi,
and Dave Ellifrit in Orcinus
Pods or ecotype: J pod, the K14s, and L87
Location: Haro Strait
Begin Lat/Long: 48 22.34/122 59.18
End Lat/Long: 48 32.50/123 10.70
Southern residents, including members of K pod, were seen coming in at Sooke at sunset on the 24th so everyone was ready for whales to be in Haro strait the next morning. Sure enough, Jeanne Hyde called Ken in the wee hours of the morning to report she was hearing calls on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Ken called Mark, who was up early scanning from shore in Victoria so he and Hanna were the first ones to get off the dock aboard “Mike 1” and find whales heading north near Salmon Bank. Ken called Dave at 6am to relay the whale reports and we all got ready to go out. Thinking that there could be J, K, and L pod whales out there, we headed out in two boats and Dave left Snug Harbor aboard “Orcinus” at 0645. Ken and Gail left aboard “Shachi” a few minutes later. We got on scene off the north end of False Bay around 0705. Members of J pod, the K14s, and L87 filed north, loosely spread out and heading toward Hannah Heights.
Mark and Hannah left soon after the other boats arrived and headed home in hopes of finding more whales. We also received a report of a group of whales pointed toward Hein Bank earlier in the morning so Dave headed that direction to see if he could find them while “Shachi” followed the Js and K14s up the west side. Dave headed down to just north of Hein Bank and took a good scan. Despite flat calm water, no other whales popped up so Dave headed back toward the whales heading north up SJI.
The Js, K14s, and L87 were spread out in small groups and individuals. The groups seemed to be quite social and there was a lot of rolling around while the individual animals looked to be foraging. The social groups would briefly porpoise north against the outgoing tide before stopping and milling around-this happened several times so the whales really weren’t going anywhere fast. Once it was clear that the only K pod whales around were the K14s, both “Shachi” and “Orcinus” ended the encounter around 0905 just a little south of CWR. The whales milled around and went back and forth in Andrews Bay for the rest of the day.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388