2018 Encounters

Encounter #42 - June 28, 2018
L90 grabs a salmon

L90 grabs a salmon

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26 and L105

J26 and L105

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J35

J35

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L103 and L123

L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L105 and J45

L105 and J45

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 28-Jun-18

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 42

Enc Start Time: 16:40

Enc End Time: 17:35

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit and Michael Weiss

Pods or ecotype: J and L pods

Location: Georgia Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 52.16/123 02.50

End Lat/Long: 48 51.11/123 01.40

 

Encounter Summary:

While we were with the transients in Encounter 41, we heard over the radio that J and L pods had been found farther north off the Fraser river mouth heading south. There were consistent radio reports of them as they traveled south a few miles to the east of where the transients were. When we were finished with the transients, we decided to check out the residents who were several miles due south of Pt. Roberts. The water between the residents and transients was pretty sloppy and it took us a while to slog over to where the residents were.
We got on scene with Js and Ls at 1640 a little over halfway between Pt. Roberts and Patos Island. The whales were very spread out and foraging on their way south towards Boundary Pass. We first saw J35 and J47 to the west of most of the others and the pair was loosely spread and seemed to foraging. They were making slow circles in the same area-perhaps trying pin down the location of a salmon in the cloudy water. A little to the east of the J35s, we found L90 and J45 spread out and traveling south. To the east of these two was a slightly larger loose group of whales including the L103s, J26, and L105. L90 and J45 joined the larger group a few minutes later. At 1711 L90, with an assist from L103 and L123, began a vigorous chase of a salmon. L90 even leapt entirely out of the water in her pursuit and, after several more twists and turns, eventually caught what looked like a chinook salmon after a two minute chase. After the chase was over, a whale that was probably L90 breached three times as she and the L103s continued south. While the chase was going on, J26 and L105 paired up and were being social as they traveled south.
Another quarter mile or more to the east, we found L87 and J49 traveling south spread out from one another. Another whale who turned out to be J37 was several hundred yards ahead of those two. We saw another cow/small juvenile pair south of J37 but they disappeared before we could get to them. J27 was another quarter mile to the east of L87 and we settled for taking a distant proof of presence on him. We ended the encounter at 1735 a couple miles north of East Point with the whales still heading south and very spread out.

 

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388