2018 Encounters

Encounter #40 - June 27, 2018
L105 and J27 both playing with kelp

L105 and J27 both playing with kelp

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J31 halfbreach

J31 halfbreach

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 trailing kelp

L87 trailing kelp

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L123 and L103

L123 and L103

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L105

L105

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J27

J27

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L105 and J27

L105 and J27

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 27-Jun-18

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 40

Enc Start Time: 13:30

Enc End Time: 17:25

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit and Kara Burgess

Pods or ecotype: J and L pods

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 29.43/123 08.17

End Lat/Long: 48 24.50/123 02.27

 

Encounter Summary:

After spending the morning working in the CWR office and listening to radio reports of Js and some Ls heading east off the Victoria waterfront, Dave and Kara grabbed their gear and headed for the boat. We left Snug Harbor a little after 1300 and headed south, pointed for mid-Haro Strait. The leaders were reported to have already passed Seabird Point on Discovery Island and were heading for the SJI shoreline.
J26 had been reported to be trailing the leaders but was well ahead of the trailing groups and we found him mid-Haro Strait at 1330. J26 was traveling fast due north toward Land Bank. After a quick look at him, we moved ahead in the direction he was heading to see if we could find the rest of the J16s. We found the J19s and J50 spread out near Edwards Point heading south. J26 appeared several hundred yards down island of the others and was now also heading slowly south.
We then headed back down the west side to find more whales. About fifteen minutes later, we found a few spread out whales offshore of False Bay traveling fast east toward Eagle Point. Two of these whales were J27 and J40 and we also caught a glimpse of the J22s. L72 and L105 were offshore of those whales and they were traveling slowly southeast, possibly foraging.
Around 1530, we moved inshore toward Eagle Point to see who our drone crew were flying over. Ten minutes later, we found J31 right at Eagle Point pointed south into the flood and not going anywhere. She did three lazy half-breaches in a row before continuing her search for fish coming to her. Tom and Michael got some really good and interesting stuff on her while flying the drone from land at Eagle Point.
We then headed back offshore to find more whales but everyone were still very spread out and hard to find. We briefly saw L83 heading southwest and then found L103 and L123 traveling together also heading southwest toward Hein Bank. After we left the L103s, we had a brief pass-by by J38 and then L87 showed up out of nowhere a few minutes later. As he passed us, L87 leaned on his side and intentionally caught a large clump of bull kelp on his dorsal fin. He carried the kelp for several surfacings before letting it slide off.
Near 1700, we saw our biggest group of the day of 4 whales traveling southwest and heading our way. This was J27, J39, L105, and L110 in a social group. They kept moving southwest toward Hein Bank while they horsed around with one another. Kelp was involved again and J27 was photographed with a strand in his mouth while L105 had more draped over his back. L83 joined this group a little later. We ended the encounter at 1725 southeast of Middle Bank due to deteriorating sea conditions with the whales still pointed southwest.

 

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388