2018 Encounters

Encounter #2 - Jan 14, 2018
J50 and J16

J50 and J16

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J38

J38

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J41 and J51

J41 and J51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J16 and J42

J16 and J42

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J16 in the fog near East Point

J16 in the fog near East Point

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J42

J42

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J27 heads up Boundary Pass

J27 heads up Boundary Pass

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

Photos taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines

Date: 14-Jan-18

Sequence: 1

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 02

Enc Start Time: 09:45

Enc End Time:13:15

Vessel: Orcinus and Morning Star

Observers: Dave Ellifrit on Orcinus and Melisa Pinnow, Tom and Jane Cogan on Morning Star

Pods or ecotype: J pod and L87

Location: Boundary Pass

Begin Lat/Long: 48 41.14/123 14.52

End Lat/Long: 48 39.55/123 03.46

 

Encounter Summary:

Jane Cogan heard J pod calls on her hydrophone and called Dave to let him know around 0800. Dave got ready and headed down to the boat and left Snug Harbor a little after 0900. Tom Cogan had already left aboard his boat “Morning Star” to go look for the whales and headed north on the American side. Dave was offshore of Kellett Bluff on his way to the Canadian side of Haro Strait to help look when Tom radioed to say that he had found whales off of Turn Point. Dave made it on scene around 0945.

 

The whales were extremely spread out. J27 was foraging in the tide rips off the point and was engaged in at least one fish chase. He was staying down a long time and was surfacing irregularly so he was hard to get a photo of. There was a juvenile foraging in the same general area that may have been J45 but he was even harder to keep track of and disappeared un-photographed. There were no other whales in sight. Around 1015, J27 looked finally committed to heading northeast up Boundary Pass which was fortunate as there was a big fog bank in Swanson Channel. Another bull finally appeared almost a mile west of J27 and this turned out to be L87. He was also traveling northeast up Boundary Pass. There were no other visible whales so Dave moved up toward Blunden Island and eventually found a few more whales off Gowland Point. J31 and J40 were foraging in the same general area and J49 was seen closer to the South Pender Island shoreline. J41 and J51 were about a half mile ahead of the others but then they pointed northeast and offshore and vanished.

 

Tom had left the scene before 1000 to go pick up Jane and Melisa and when “Morning Star” got back on scene, they went north towards East Point. They found most of the J16s and J19 between Narvaez Point and East Point. Dave headed up there to get some pics of the J16s before he started slowly back south to see who else might show up. Almost a half hour later, J41 and J51 were seen again pretty much in the same place they had last disappeared. Now, however, they were heading quickly southeast towards Sandy Point on Waldron Island. J31 and J40 were also seen again and they also were quickly heading toward Sandy Point. “Morning Star” radioed to report that the J16s, who had made it north of East Point, had also turned around and were heading back for Boundary Pass.

 

By the time the whales reached Sandy Point, J22, J37, J38, J46, and J49 had also appeared and they all filed around Sandy Point spread out in singles and pairs heading southeast. Most of these whales went deep into Cowlitz Bay, dissipated and disappeared. About ten minutes behind these whales, all of the J16s rounded Sandy Point in a loose group and also headed southeast toward San Juan Channel following the other whales. Almost a mile to the southwest, J27 and L87 were foraging in the same area. They came together briefly and were last seen at 1315 after going on a forever dive and Dave ended his part of the encounter there. “Morning Star” stayed with the whales a while longer as they headed down San Juan Channel. J pod and L87 were last reported in the late afternoon off Pt. Caution heading northwest back up San Juan Channel.