spyhop

spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T51

T51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T37A1

T37A1

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T36 and T36B

T36 and T36B

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

milling after a kill

milling after a kill

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

breach after a kill

breach after a kill

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T36B2 and T37A1

T36B2 and T37A1

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T51

T51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T37A and T37A4

T37A and T37A4

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T36 and T37As

T36 and T37As

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T51

T51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Encounter #47 - June 30, 2017

Date: 30-Jun-17

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 47

Enc Start Time: 13:10

Enc End Time: 15:25

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: San Juan Channel

Begin Lat/Long: 48 27.05/122 57.03

End Lat/Long: 48 31.92/122 58.06

Encounter Summary:

After hearing reports over the radios of several groups of transients in Haro Strait heading for the south end of San Juan Island, Dave headed down to the boat and left Snug Harbor at 1235. Dave arrived on scene at 1310 about three quarters of a mile east of Whale Rocks in Cattle Pass to find a group of six whales including T36, T51, and the T37As heading east a little north of Long Island. Another couple of groups of whales appeared to head north in San Juan Channel into Griffin Bay. The T49As were also reported to be at Beaumont Shoal. The T37As along with T36 and T51 briefly turned south-southwest once they got to the east end of Long Island but soon started milling before turning back north again. The whales hit the shoreline of the east tip of Long Island before charging back northwest on the north side of Long Island. The whales moved over to Davis Point on Lopez Island and the group then headed north up the Lopez Island shoreline and Dave left them at 1405 about a quarter mile south of Shark Reef.

There was another group milling near the north end of Griffin Bay and this turned out to be the T99s. They were milling in the same area and appeared to have a seal pinned on the bottom as the four whales were surfacing at alternate intervals. About a mile north of the T99s, another small group was heading slowly north toward Turn Island. This was the T36Bs along with T37A1. T37A1 had dispersed from the T37As and the last time we had seen the whale in early 2013, it had been traveling with its grandmother T37 and the T36s. We had seen all the T36s and T37s in the last few years and T37A1 had not been with them so it must have found other whales in other places to travel with in those years. Around 1450, the T36Bs and T37A1 began hunting a seal near the seal haul out rocks just south of Turn Island. Although Dave was a little too far away to see a confirmed kill, the whales must have made one because they soon got very active while they milled around just to the east of the seal rocks. One whale breached twice and there was other splashing and a few spyhops.

T51 soon came charging over from the Lopez Island side to join the T36Bs and then T36 and the T37As soon followed him. The T99s also caught up from the south and all the whales appeared to be being social. There was some milling as the whales briefly stalled out in the ebbing tide on the east side of Turn Island. They then put it in gear and charged around the north side of Turn Island. Dave ended the encounter there at 1525 as the whales appeared to turn northeast and began traveling toward Upright Channel.

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

2017 Encounters