2018 Encounters

Encounter #54 - July 27, 2018
J53 and J46 at Pile

J53 and J46 at Pile

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J44 and J47 foraging

J44 and J47 foraging

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J35 with dead calf

J35 with dead calf

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 27-Jul-18

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 54

Enc Start Time: 11:25

Enc End Time: 14:15

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: David Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: J Pod

Location: San Juan Island

Begin Lat/Long: 

End Lat/Long:

 

Encounter Summary:

After hearing over the radio that the J17s were on the west side of San Juan Island and that J35 was still carrying around her dead calf, CWR staff made a plan to try to document it.  The CWR drone team would head down the west side in hopes of flying from one of various spots on the west side and Dave would head out in the boat to make sure the drone team got on the right whales.  Dave left Snug Harbor around 1105 and got on scene off Pile Point at about 1125.

Because of the delicate situation of J35 mourning her dead calf, everyone was trying to give the J17s as much space as possible and “Orcinus” stayed well off shore of the whales until there was an appropriate time to go in and get closer.  The J17s had been heading north but had turned back south shortly after arrival.  The whales were moving slowly and several whales were foraging.  “Orcinus” made its one close approach around 1220 and J35 cooperatively pushed the calf right past the shut down boat.  J35 seemed to be the outer most whale of the spread out group although J44 and J47 were foraging together nearby.  The J17s moved inshore to Pile Point and the CWR drone team was able to get some aerial shots of J35 and her dead calf.  After the drone team got what they wanted, the boat encounter ended at 1415 with the J17s pointed south at Pile Point but not going anywhere fast.  A sad but successful day made easier by good communications among all people and boats involved.

And a big Happy Birthday to L83 who was born 28 years ago today in 1990!

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388