2018 Encounters

Encounter #55 - July 29, 2018
J22 and seiner

J22 and seiner

Photo by Michael Weiss

J27

J27

Photo by Michael Weiss

J27

J27

Photo by Michael Weiss

J16 with fish

J16 with fish

Photo by Michael Weiss

the J17s

the J17s

Photo by Michael Weiss

J26

J26

Photo by Michael Weiss

the J17s

the J17s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L87 off the County

L87 off the County

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J27

J27

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J41 and J51

J41 and J51

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J19 and J39

J19 and J39

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

J26

J26

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 29-Jul-18

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 55

Enc Start Time: 12:40

Enc End Time: 16:45

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: David Ellifrit, Michael Weiss, Seattle Times media crew

Pods or ecotype: J Pod

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 27.31, 123 03.21

End Lat/Long: 48 33.46, 123 11.50

 

Encounter Summary:

J pod had been reported on the west side of San Juan Island early in the day. Dave and Michael met the Seattle Times crew at the boat, and left the dock a bit after noon. At 1240, they located J26 north of Eagle Point, meandering slowly, likely in a food searching pattern.

A bit north of J26, they found the rest of the J16 matriline, moving slowly north. J50 travelled a bit behind her sisters and mother. The team focused on photographing J50, given her health concerns. She briefly turned back towards her older brother J26, before circling around to meet back up with her mother. At 1345, the team observed J16 catching a salmon and bringing it to the surface off Kanaka Bay. J16’s three daughters, J36, J42, and J50, gathered around her as they hung at the surface. It appeared that J16 shared the fish with youngest daughter J50.

The team then went down island to document what other individuals were present. They found a tight group of whales, consisting of the J14s, J11s (except J27), J19s, and L87, moving up island close to shore off Pile Point. After photographing this group, we moved offshore and continued north with them. As they moved north, the J22s also joined the group. Orcinus then continued north.

A bit south of Lime Kiln, the team encountered a group composed of the J16s and J17s, including J35, who was still carrying her deceased calf. This group headed south, until they met the large group of whales headed north. The whales milled briefly before pointing up island. The team followed them up, attempting to better document J35’s continued grieving behavior.

When the group passed Open Bay, the team decided to look offshore for the only J pod whale they had not yet encountered, J27. They located him at 1620, a mile off Smuggler’s Cove. He was slowly foraging, moving non-directionally and staying close to the surface. The team observed him for a few minutes, getting a few ID shots, before ending the encounter at 1635.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388