2018 Encounters

Encounter #22 - Mar 31, 2018
L87

L87

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the J17s

the J17s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J22

J22

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J pod near Kelp Reef

J pod near Kelp Reef

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J39 and J45 near Kelp Reef

J39 and J45 near Kelp Reef

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J46, J17 and J44

J46, J17 and J44

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J pod

J pod

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J41 and J51

J41 and J51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 31-Mar-18

Sequence: 1

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 22

Enc Start Time: 13:10

Enc End Time: 15:45

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Darren Croft, and Lodie Gilbert aboard Orcinus

Ken Balcomb and Lisa Moorby aboard Chimo

Pods or ecotype: J pod and L87

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 31.00/123 10.34

End Lat/Long: 48 35.54/123 12.30

 

Encounter Summary:

After receiving several reports throughout the morning of J pod on the west side of San Juan Island, Dave, Darren, and Lodie met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat just before 1300. We got on scene ten minutes later about three quarters of a mile northwest of the Lime Kiln lighthouse. We shut down on the edge of the scene to get a sense of what the whales were doing. A large, tight group of whales approached slowly from the south. This was all of the J11s, J14s, and J19s and they filed right by the boat in a nice pass and then began heading west across the strait. About a half mile to the southwest, another smaller group was also traveling due west. This was J17, J44, and J46 and they were heading toward L87 and J53 who were chasing a fish together another third of a mile to the west. After the fish chase was over, J53 rejoined her mother along with J44 and J46 while L87 moved off by a couple of hundred yards and all the whales turned more north-north west and traveled up Haro Strait almost on the Kelp Reef line.
All the whales were spread out in individuals and some small groups. A couple of these groups milled in the area around Kelp Reef. Some of these whales continued north while others began cutting back across Haro Strait to the American side. We eventually found and photographed all the whales although no members of the J16 matriline seemed to be present this day. We ended the encounter at about 1545 with L87 being trailing whale heading north off Kellett Bluff. Ken had gone to North Pender aboard “Chimo” to pick up Lisa and they also stopped briefly to see the whales on their way back to San Juan Island.