2019 Encounters

Encounter #74 - September 21, 2019
L4s, L47s, and L72s

L4s, L47s, and L72s

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

K35

K35

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

L103 taillob

L103 taillob

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

L106

L106

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

spyhop

spyhop

Photo by Stewart MacIntyre

L88

L88

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K35

K35

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the L4s head south

the L4s head south

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L108 chasing salmon

L108 chasing salmon

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

K33

K33

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

20160331DAG_SJ1-179_J53 spyhop.jpg
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Date: 21-Sep-19

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 74

Enc Start Time: 09:53

Enc End Time: 16:12

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Stewart MacIntyre, Kathy Babiak

Pods or ecotype: K and L pods

Location: Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 32.05/123 10.03

End Lat/Long: 48 27.18/123 03.27

Encounter Summary:

Jane Cogan called Dave at home to relay a message that the SR3 drone team had found southern residents off the west side of San Juan Island. Dave, Kathy, and Stewart met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 0940. We found whales heading north at Bellevue Point at 0953. This was most of the L4s and they milled around near Bellevue Point for the next 35 minutes. The whales would look like they turned around and pointed south but we were drifting north toward the County Park with the tide. Several whales did brief stints of logging. One of these logging whales, just a little south of the bulk of the L4s, finally arched and she turned out to be L54. L108 and L117 also appeared. The L54s had not made it all the way into inside waters since January.
By about 1030, the L4s and L54s had all joined up and began a determined effort to head down San Juan Island in a tight group. 25 minutes later, the Ls were only halfway between Bellevue Point and Lime Kiln, although the L54s had split off from the L4s and were traveling south just a little southwest of them. L108 began chasing a salmon and his little brother L117 came over to help. We left the L54s at 1110, still north of Lime Kiln, to head to whales that we heard were down island. About a mile and a half off Hannah Heights, we found L83 and then we found L88 foraging by himself another three quarters of a mile offshore of her. Moving on from L88, we found L72 and L105 off False Bay. Farther south off South Beach, we found members of K pod extremely spread out. We could only find K21, K35, and K42 down there although we caught a glimpse of K26 but he disappeared without being photographed.
We headed back north and found K33, first fishing and then heading south, just a little south of False Bay. Next was L88 again, still foraging by himself a couple miles offshore of the south end of False Bay. A little while later we saw K37 inshore at the south end of False Bay and K12 and probably K43 were ahead of him by a quarter mile, all heading south. Ahead of them, closer to Eagle Point, we found the L54s again heading south. On our way home we passed a large tight group off False Bay heading south that included the L4s, L47s, and L72s. We only got distant proof of presence shots as there were other research vessels working that group and we ended the encounter there at 1612. Jane Cogan later said that a group of whales, including L105, headed north past their place at dusk.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388