2019 Encounters

Encounter #11 - Feb 18, 2019
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Date: 18-Feb-19

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 11

Enc Start Time: 14:54

Enc End Time: 16:31

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Melisa Pinnow

Pods or ecotype: J pod

Location: Patos Island

Begin Lat/Long: 48 47.020/-123 00.794

End Lat/Long: 48 46.122/-122 55.517

Encounter Summary:

At 1323, a whale watching boat reported that they had found members of J pod near East Point, Saturna Island. Dave and Melisa headed to Snug Harbor and left the dock at 1415 aboard “Orcinus”. At 1454, “Orcinus” arrived on scene with the J16s about three-quarters of a mile west of the Patos Island lighthouse. J16, J36, and J42 were traveling east tight together. J26 was paralleling them a few hundred yards to the north and swam over to join them soon after.

To the north, the rest of J pod was spread out but slowly coming together into social groups as they also headed east. At 1538, “Orincus” left the J16s as they took the southern side of Patos Island and headed over to the rest of the pod, which took the northern side. The largest of the social groups was made up of J19, J22, J37, J38, J41, and J49. They were less than a quarter of a mile from the Patos shoreline and were surface active with occasional tail slaps, pec slaps, and spy hops. It wasn’t long until J27, J31, and J39 joined the larger group from further inshore. Goofing off and trailing slightly behind were J40, J45, and J51.

J40, J45, and J51 caught up with the larger group (which now contained all of the J11s, J14s, J19s, and J22s) as it neared Toe Point and many of the whales became more surface active with frequent tail slaps, inverted tail slaps, and pec slaps. At 1605, the J11s, J14s, J19s, and J22s cleared Patos Island and continued east toward Lummi Island. The J16s had also cleared Patos by this time and could be seen in the distance to the south, also aiming toward Lummi.

At 1618, the J16s joined the J11s, J14s, J19s, and J22s and they all turned south toward President Channel, though they seemed a bit indecisive about it at first. The encounter was ended at 1631 as the whales slowly swam south along the Sucia Island shoreline toward Present Channel. The J17s and L87 were not present during the encounter so the CWR will wait for another J pod encounter to confirm how J17 is fairing.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

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