J51 and J19

J51 and J19

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Inverted tail lob

Inverted tail lob

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L88

L88

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J47, J44, J49, and J45

J47, J44, J49, and J45

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J44, J47, J38, and J49

J44, J47, J38, and J49

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J47

J47

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L84

L84

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L84

L84

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L117 and Dalls porpoise

L117 and Dalls porpoise

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J16s in front of CWR

J16s in front of CWR

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L54 and L108

L54 and L108

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L88

L88

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87

L87

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L117, L54, and Dalls porpoise

L117, L54, and Dalls porpoise

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Encounter #96 - Oct 15, 2017

Date:15-Oct-17

Sequence:1

Encounter Number: 96

Enc Start Time: 13:15

Enc End Time: 16:30

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: J and L pods

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 32.19/123 10.38

End Lat/Long: 48 30.40/123 10.35

 

Encounter Summary:

After receiving several reports of whales spread out along the west side of San Juan Island, we headed down to Snug Harbor. Since the whales were spread out and it was a nice Fall day, the plan was for Ken and Gail to go out in “Shachi” and Dave would go out in “Orcinus”. We all left Snug at about 1305 and were on scene ten minutes later with whales spread out off the south end of Andrews Bay and farther south. Unfortunately, “Shachi” developed throttle problems and had to limp back in to Snug Harbor with “Orcinus” following in case help was needed. “Shachi” made it safely to Snug and Dave left again on “Orcinus” and was on scene with the whales again by about 1350.
The whales were still spread out in singles and small groups. Most of the whales were pointed south or southwest but none of them really seemed to be going anywhere. Several individual whales were seen abruptly changing directions like they had encountered a fish and then a chase would ensue. A small group that included the J19s and J31 were seen. L87 and J45 were also seen interacting with one another. The five members of the J16s were milling together about a mile or so in front of CWR after J26 joined the other four from the west. The J16s were one of the larger groups and they continued slowly south. A bull was seen to the north of the J16s that couldn’t have been one of the J pod males or L87 and, surprisingly, this turned out to be L84. This was the first time L84, L88, and the L54s had made it all the way in to Haro Strait in 2017 although they had been seen several times off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. CWR also had an encounter with the five of them with other L pod whales near Race Rocks on June 12th. L84 was traveling slowly south by himself. The L54s were about a half mile to the northwest of L84. These three were milling and loosely spread at first but soon came together and began traveling southwest. L88 was a couple hundred yards ahead of the L54s. By about 1505, L88 was angling back to the southeast toward SJI when he abruptly changed direction to the north and began chasing a fish.
Almost a mile to the northwest, an active group of Dall’s porpoises were riding whale watch boats bow waves when they suddenly broke off from the boats and streaked southeast toward the L54s and a few others. Four or five Dall’s rooster-tailed among L54, L117, and L88 for several minutes about a mile southwest of CWR. L54 split off and then J44 and J47 joined a loose play group with L88, L108, and L117. J27 and L87 were seen rolling around together about a mile to the south. J27 and L87 soon split up but they were still foraging in the same general area. Back with the play group, J45, J49, J38, and J39 joined J44 and J47 for an all-male play group with L88 and L108 following closely behind. All these whales were still rolling down island but were not going anywhere fast. Dave ended the encounter around 1630 about a mile northwest of Lime Kiln with L84, L108, and L117 in a loose group just after they had turned east toward SJI.

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

2017 Encounters

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