2018 Encounters

Encounter #34 - May 27, 2018
T100C

T100C

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100F

T100F

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100E

T100E

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100

T100

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100B

T100B

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 27-May-18

Sequence:1

Encounter Number: 34

Enc Start Time: 16:28

Enc End Time: 16:59

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Ken Balcomb

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 35 17N/123 12 33W

End Lat/Long: 48 37 53N/123 13 15W

 

Encounter Summary:

Two groups of Bigg’s Transient whales were reported in Haro Strait going in opposite directions: one group off Pile Point heading north, and one group somewhere up near Turn Point heading south, so it seemed to make sense to depart early from an afternoon meeting at the new Orca Survey Outreach and Education Center and head out to the west side of San Juan Island to see what was going on. As Ken pulled into the driveway shortly after 1600, dorsal fins and blows were spotted about a ½ mile off Sunset Point of a northbound group. The wind was freshening, and there was a low chop to the seas, but a quick decision was made to attempt an encounter.
Ken departed from Snug Harbor in “Orcinus” at 1622 and immediately spotted the whales in the middle of Haro Strait still heading north with a small entourage of vessels just as the group split up, and two whales swam toward Kellett Bluff. The first photos were backlit of the mid-strait whales and distant of the inshore whales. Of the latter, only one photo was identifiable – that of T100B. Abeam of Battleship Island, the whales, came closer together in mid-strait and traveled northwest. There must have been six whales present, but the wind and current in mid-Haro Strait at the confluence of Speiden Channel made conditions pretty sloppy, so only five of them had decent ID photos. The group of whales that had been reported off Turn Point was still up somewhere ahead, but the prospect of splashing further up Haro Strait, maybe or maybe not finding them, and then returning through the slop and Ken made the quick decision to call the encounter over at 1659. The northern group was reported to be the 124s.