T19B tail lob

T19B tail lob

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

T19B outside of reef in front of CWR from porch

T19B outside of reef in front of CWR from porch

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T18s in Mosquito Pass

T18s in Mosquito Pass

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

T19C at Barren Island

T19C at Barren Island

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

T19C passes seals at Barren Island

T19C passes seals at Barren Island

Photo by Michael Weiss

inverted pec slap

inverted pec slap

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

taillob

taillob

Photo by Michael Weiss

inverted tail lob

inverted tail lob

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19B

T19B

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T19B and T19

T19B and T19

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T19C from CWR porch

T19C from CWR porch

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T19C and T19B

T19C and T19B

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T18 and T19

T18 and T19

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19B pec slap

T19B pec slap

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Encounter #58 - Aug 2, 2017

Date: 02-Aug-2017

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 58

Enc Start Time: 16:00

Enc End Time: 16:55

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Michael Weiss, and Stewart MacIntyre

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Mosquito Pass

Begin Lat/Long: 48 35.37/123 10.26

End Lat/Long: 48 37.33/123 09.28

 

Encounter Summary:

We had been working in the office at CWR while listening to the radios for most of the day. The T18s had been found in the morning west of Race Rocks and steadily moved east. The whales were in Haro Strait by early afternoon and were at the south end of Andrews Bay by 1510. A few minutes later the whales were deep in the bay and patrolling the rocks and kelp around Low Island. They then continued north with T19C surfacing right at Sunset Point. The whales went on a long dive off Sunset Point and then T19 and T19B came up right outside reef in front of CWR at 1321. That pair surfaced a couple of times near the reef and then disappeared. Then T18 came up well inside the reef and Dave and Stewart, who were watching from the porch, wondered anxiously where T19C would surface. T19C soon surprised us both when he surfaced just a couple of dozen yards off the rocks. He was much closer to the shoreline than the reef and Dave had never seen a transient come that close to the shore here in front of CWR before.

Once the whales had passed the Center by 1525, Dave and Stewart grabbed their gear and met Michael down at the boat. We left Snug Harbor at 1555 only to immediately find out that the T18s were heading into Mosquito Pass. The whales apparently headed up the eastern shoreline of Henry Island but we did not see them ahead of us until they took their first right toward the turn rock in the elbow of the pass. The whales went right around the rock and went on a long dive. They next came up about a half mile south of the west end of Pearl Island aiming for the western north entrance of Roche Harbor. The whales went on another long dive before surfacing near us right in the western north entrance to the harbor at 1615. The whales were milling and obviously had a seal pinned on the bottom. By about 1622, the milling looked less like they were still after the seal and more like they made the kill inconspicuously already. While we never saw the kill, the whales acted like the deed had already done and there were several tail lobs and pec slaps-even T19B did one big lazy pec slap. The whales then started traveling northeast past the north side of Posey Island and then more easterly toward Barren Island. T19C was seen shaking while he traveled so it was believed that they may have eaten that seal on the way to Barren Island. The whales next surfaced working the shoreline of Barren Island and passing right next to scared harbor seals trying to stay out of the way on the rock. The whales then worked the kelp bed just to the east of Barren Island and may have made another kill since we could smell a little blubber oil in the air. Giles, who was on the poop boat behind the action, reported seeing lots of small seal pieces floating around behind so the whales definitely ate more at that spot but we could not confirm if they made a new kill or were just finishing off their old kill. The T18s then started steaming east in Spieden Channel and we left them at 1655 off the west end of Davison Head at the top end of San Juan Island. While we were on the T18s, Ken was out in “Chimo” on another group of transients in the southeastern part of Juan de Fuca Strait. See Encounter 59 for his report on those whales.

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

2017 Encounters