2019 Encounters

Encounter #105 - December 17, 2019
L103 and L123

L103 and L123

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Spyhop

Spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Socializing whales

Socializing whales

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Socializing whales

Socializing whales

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Pec slap

Pec slap

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K21 with Trial Island in background

K21 with Trial Island in background

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K33

K33

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K35, L47, and K38

K35, L47, and K38

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K35

K35

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L47 with 2 new small

L47 with 2 new small

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L105

L105

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

20160331DAG_SJ1-179_J53 spyhop.jpg
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Enc Date: 17/12/19

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 105

Observ Begin: 10:20 AM

Observ End: 01:10 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: J, K, L

Location Descr: Trial Island

Start Latitude: 48 23.26

Start Longitude: 123 19.09

End Latitude: 48 23.05

End Longitude: 123 16.17

Enc Summary:

Jane Cogan called Dave to report that she was hearing Southern Residents on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. Dave grabbed his gear and headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 0845. Since no one had spotted the whales yet, Dave went searching down the west side of San Juan Island about a mile offshore to about False Bay. No killer whales were found but a single humpback was briefly seen offshore of Hannah Heights. Since it was likely to be breezier south of False Bay but was calmer to the west, Dave decided to head southwesterly toward Sea Bird Point and continued on to about a mile and a half southeast of Trial Island. Dave had just turned around to search another direction when Mark called over the radio and said there were a bunch of whales on the west side of Trial Island. Dave hurried over and the encounter started at about 1020.
The first whales encountered were a large group of all the Js with L87 plus the K27s and most of the L4s. The group acted like they had just met up and were being social. Several whales logged at the surface and some of them were vocalizing. The whales were pointed west but not really going anywhere and there was a lot of milling going on. The large group broke up into several smaller groups and most of the whales still seemed to be socializing as there were milling balls of whales spreading out in every direction. For a short while, it was very super pod like behavior. More whales were trickling in from the west and these were mostly K pod whales along with a few more Ls. After searching many groups, it became clear that the L12s, L54s, and L88 were not present this day but all the Js, Ks, L4s, L47s, L72s, L90, and L87 were. All whales present were photographed by the end of the encounter. Once the eastbound Ks and Ls met the others, all the whales began moving easterly but very slowly and there was a lot of milling and socializing still going on. The encounter ended at 1310 about a mile and a half or so southeast of Trial Island with most of the spread out groups heading due east.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388