2018 Encounters

Encounter #111 - Dec 31, 2018
L87 with Mt Baker

L87 with Mt Baker

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Js in Chain Islets

Js in Chain Islets

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J27, J22, and J41

J27, J22, and J41

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J51

J51

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J42 and J16

J42 and J16

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J26

J26

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J17 showing peanuthead

J17 showing peanuthead

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J pod inside Chain Islets

J pod inside Chain Islets

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J pod inside Chain Islets

J pod inside Chain Islets

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 and J47 fooling around

L87 and J47 fooling around

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J17 showing peanuthead

J17 showing peanuthead

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J27 and J19

J27 and J19

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J42 spyhop in Baynes Channel

J42 spyhop in Baynes Channel

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J31 spyhops next to J49

J31 spyhops next to J49

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Photos are taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines

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Date: 31-Dec-18

Sequence: 5

Encounter Number: 111

Enc Start Time: 12:30

Enc End Time: 14:30

Vessel: Morning Star

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Melisa Pinnow, Jane Cogan, Tom Cogan

Pods or ecotype: J pod

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 32.817/-123 15.146

End Lat/Long: 48 24.770/-123 16.393

Encounter Summary:

Dave, Melisa, Tom, and Jane met at Snug Harbor and left the dock at 1215 aboard “Morning Star”. At 1230, a large cluster of blows were spotted to the southwest as “Morning Star” was crossing the shipping lanes west of Mitchell Bay in Haro Strait. The blows turned out to be from J pod and the whales were heading south on the Canadian side of Haro Strait, south of Kelp Reefs.

Nearly all of J pod was grouped up and sleepily heading toward Cadboro Point on Vancouver Island. Not everyone was sleepy though. L87 and J47 were goofing off together, as were J38, J39, and J45. The J16s and J46 were socializing a few hundred yards to the west of the big group. To the east of the big group were J17 and J53. Unfortunately, J17 has not improved in health and showing a true peanuthead now. Perhaps reacting to their mother’s condition, both J35 and J53 were acting mopey.

As J pod approached Vancouver Island, it became clear that they were going to take Baynes Channel instead of going around Seabird Point, Discovery Island. Most of the whales started tail slapping, pec slapping, cartwheeling, and spy hopping as they neared the entrance to Baynes Channel and these behaviors continued into the channel. Interestingly, the whales then entered the Chain Islets and dramatically milled about in shallow water for a little over ten minutes. It was unclear if J pod was fishing, socializing, or stuck among the small rocky islands. J17, J44, and J53 were the first to emerge from the Chain Islets and headed west. The rest of the whales quickly followed after them and headed southwest toward Trial Island. The encounter was ended at 1430 as J pod continued southwest, northeast of Trial Island.