2018 Encounters

Encounter #90 - Oct 15, 2018
U137

U137

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U57

U57

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U56

U56

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U36A

U36A

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U36

U36

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U57

U57

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U137 taillobs next to U57

U137 taillobs next to U57

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T38A

T38A

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U57 pec slaps in front of Mt Baker

U57 pec slaps in front of Mt Baker

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

pec slap in front of Mt Baker

pec slap in front of Mt Baker

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U57

U57

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

feeding whales

feeding whales

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Stellar Sea Lion attack

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U137 pec slaps next to T35A1

U137 pec slaps next to T35A1

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

U36, U57, and Mt Baker

U36, U57, and Mt Baker

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Date: 15-Oct-18

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 90

Enc Start Time: 15:15

Enc End Time: 17:15

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca

Begin Lat/Long: 48 13.59/122 58.19

End Lat/Long: 48 14.26/122 58.35

 

Encounter Summary:

Jane Cogan called Dave at home in the early afternoon to relay a report of an interesting group of transients heading east off Dungeness Spit. Along with the T35As and T38As, a male known as U57 and several other unknown whales were reported to be with them. Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1415. On the way south, the whales were reported to have begun an attack on a Steller sea lion and this attack was still going on when Dave arrived on scene around 1515 about mid-way between Dungeness Spit and Smith Island.
The whales were actively ramming and tail lobbing on a large sea lion at the surface. U57 and another male were just on the periphery of the attack and were taking extremely long dives so they were not being seen much during the attack. Along with the six T35As and T38As, there were four new whales other than U57. Mark Malleson had photographed U57 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca the previous year but the other four had never been photographed this far in the inside waters of the Salish Sea before. After arriving home, Dave sent photos off to Jared Towers who confirmed U57’s identity along with providing IDs and sending a matriline diagram of the other four unknown whales. Besides U57, Jared says the other male is known as U56 and both are the probable sons of a two nicked female known as U36. A medium sized juvenile present was U36A. The second unknown female sized whale who was present was U137. U137 seems to belong to the U36 group but his/her relationship to the others is unknown. Jared says DFO only has a few records of this group from near the shelf edge off northern Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii.
By about 1538, the whales had finally killed the Steller sea lion and all the whales moved in to feed on the carcass. For more than an hour and a half, the whales continued to feed and socialize without really moving anywhere. U56 seemed to have a habit of staying down a long time and then would surface twice before arching big and disappearing again. He would often do a lazy tail lob after his big arch. There were lots of pec slaps and tail lobs from the other whales too. On multiple occasions a younger whale would log at the surface and vocalize. The whales continued to feed and socialize but were generally pointed southeast toward Admiralty Inlet and the encounter ended around 1715.

 

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238 / DFO SARA 388