Encounter #22 - Mar 22, 2019
Encounter Number: 22
Enc Start Time: 12:40
Enc End Time: 15:03
Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Melisa Pinnow
Pods or ecotype: J pod
Begin Lat/Long:48 27.01/-123 13.59
End Lat/Long:48 29.969/-123 13.207
At about 1132, whale watching boats found J pod southbound in northern Haro Strait. Dave and Melisa headed to Snug Harbor and left the dock at 1230 aboard “Orcinus”. At 1240, “Orcinus” arrived on scene about two miles southeast of Mandarte Island. J pod was very spread out in small groups and still slowly heading south.
J37, J49, and L87 surfaced a few hundred yards south of “Orcinus” in a loose group. J22 and J38 were then spotted near each other about a quarter of a mile to the north. When blows were seen a few hundred yards to the northeast of J22 and J38 at 1300, “Orcinus” went to investigate. Amazingly, the blows came from J17 and J53! J17 was still alive and had even improved a little in body condition since December/January. However, her breath still smelled awful so the CWR will remain cautiously optimistic that she will survive.
As J17 and J53 approached Kellet Bluffs on Henry Island, “Orcinus” headed off to look for other whales. After a few repeat whales, more groups were found half a mile north of Kelp Reefs at 1352. The largest group was made up of the J19s, J31, the J35s, J40, and J46. J16, J36, and J42 paralleled the larger group a few hundred yards to the west and slightly trailing behind them were J26 and J27. As the whales slowly headed south past Kelp Reefs at 1428, J26 joined J16, J36, and J42 while J27 headed over to the larger group. The encounter ended at 1503 about two miles southeast of Kelp Reefs as the two groups slowly continued south toward Seabird Point on Discovery Island.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388