2019 Encounters

Encounter #80 - September 30, 2019
J31

J31

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J31 & J56

J31 & J56

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J31 & J56

J31 & J56

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L105

L105

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L72

L72

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L86

L86

Photo by Ken Balcomb

K38

K38

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L55

L55

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L106

L106

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L87

L87

Photo by Ken Balcomb

J56

J56

Photo by Ken Balcomb

20160331DAG_SJ1-179_J53 spyhop.jpg
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Date: 30-Sep-19

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 80

Enc Start Time: 16:35

Enc End Time: 18:38

Vessel: Chimo

Observers: Ken Balcomb

Pods or ecotype: J pod, K pod, and eighteen L members

Location: off False Bay

Begin Lat/Long: 48 27.557N/123 06.37W

End Lat/Long: 48 25.239N/123 04.820W

Encounter Summary:

On Saturday evening, 28 September, we received a report that J,K, and some L whales were off Campbell River in the Strait of Georgia; and, they had apparently been up in the Strait of Georgia for about a week since we last saw them 21 September heading north in Haro Strait. At 1100 today, 30 September, they were reported heading west in Boundary Pass off East Point, Saturna Island, and shortly later at 1226 they were off Battleship Island, Haro Strait.Ken saw the first whales heading south off the Center for Whale Research at 1321and by 1415 they had mostly passed by very spread out across the Strait. At 1615, Ken departed Snug Harbor in "Chimo" to encounter and check on the status of the new baby, J56. As luck would have it, the first photo that he took was of J56 with mom (J31) several miles offshore of False Bay. Whales were spread out over many square miles in small groups in calm water - good conditions for photo-ID except that the whales were so spread. Some whales were foraging with gusto, and some were seeming very relaxed - not in tight resting groups at first, but gradually they seemed to come together in groups of increasing size. The groups were all still several miles apart as they oozed offshore from San Juan Island toward the Strait of Juan de Fuca. By sunset it was still not apparent whether they were on their way back out to the ocean. However, the next day on 1 October a large group of SRKWs including the L12s was reported heading west at Jordan River at 1133. The L12s were not with this group of J,K, and L whales that had spent much of the recent two weeks in the interior waters of the Salish Sea, and we presume that they met up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Thus we know exactly how many SRKWs were in the interior Salish Sea and for how many days. They looked well fed and were feeding, so we can calculate roughly how many pounds of prey species they might have consumed. If we want all of the SRKW to come into these waters for half of the days of the year as they used to, we can calculate roughly how many fish should be allotted to them for that purpose.

Notes-Comments:A brief video was taken of this encounter and is available on YouTube (link).

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388