2018 Encounters

Encounter #45 - July 12, 2018
K21 and Mt Baker

K21 and Mt Baker

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J36 and J26

J36 and J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 charges into Cattle Pass

L87 charges into Cattle Pass

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K37

K37

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K38 kelping

K38 kelping

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K21

K21

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 12-jul-18

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 45

Enc Start Time: 8:30 

Enc End Time: 3:30

Vessel: Orca

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Michael Weiss

Pods or ecotype: J and K Pod

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 25.22, 123 11.26

End Lat/Long: 48 29.52, 123 08.34

 

Encounter Summary:

Dave received reports of a large group of inbound killer whales, likely J and K pod, early in the morning. Dave called Michael, and they grabbed their gear and left the dock a bit before 8 o’clock. After a bit of searching across Haro Strait, they encountered the J16s, J14s, J19s, and J22s headed east from Sunset point at 8:30. The whales were spread into two tight, travelling groups, pointed for the west side of San Juan Island. After getting some ID shots on this group of Js, they decided to leave this group to look for the rest of J pod and any K pod whales that might be travelling with them. They searched further west, and then circled back towards the south of San Juan island. They found K37 travelling fast towards the west side of the island, followed by K34 doing the same. Once off the west side, they encountered the rest of the K13s. The whales were spread in groups of twos and threes, foraging along the shore. Dave and Michael decided to slowly work their way down island to look for the rest of K pod, and encountered the rest of the K12s, K14s, as well as members of the J17s and J39. After a long search, they got the report that the remaining members of K pod, K21 and the K16s, were south of Hein Bank. They went to observe these three whales for several minutes before heading back towards the island. There, they encountered a large, social group of K pod whales and J45 near Cattle Pass. Soon, another tight group of whales composed of the J11s, J19s, and J14s, headed towards this group. The groups met up and began socializing, with lots of percussive behaviors, spyhopping, and rolling. The group drifted into Cattle Pass and up San Juan channel. As they left the scene, Dave and Michael spotted the J39, the J22s, the K13s, and L87 headed into Cattle Pass behind the main group. Heading up the island, they found members of the K12s, J17s, and J16s fighting the flood tide as they headed south past Hannah Heights. They ended the encounter a bit after 3 pm, and arrived back at the dock at 3:30. 

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388