Encounter #43 - July 5, 2019
Encounter Number: 43
Enc Start Time: 08:05
Enc End Time: 14:40
Vessel: Orcinus and Chimo
Observers: Dave Ellifrit on Orcinus and Ken Balcomb on Chimo
Pods or ecotype: J and K pods and L87
Location: Haro Strait
Begin Lat/Long: 48 33.04/123 10.35
End Lat/Long: 48 31.09/123 09.28
Michael called Dave at 0715 to relay a text message from Giles saying that there were southern residents on the west side of San Juan Island. Since Michael was stuck on the mainland, Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 0755. The leaders were first encountered at 0805 off CWR. The whales were spread out and heading north with members of the J19s, K12s, and K13s in the lead. Some whales made it past Kellett Bluff whiles others foraged deep into Mitchell Bay. K38 and J51 were playing and splashing around together.
By 0915, most of the whales had turned around and began heading south down the west side of San Juan Island. About an hour later, J and K pods were spread out from Hannah Heights to Eagle Point. A few individual whales were foraging offshore while a few small groups were spread out closer to shore. The new J pod calf was found inshore in a small group just north of Eagle Point. The calf was traveling with J31 but several other young females were with them too as the whales turned back north again. J40 and J46 seemed particularly interested in the new calf. L87 also traveled briefly behind this group. Other small groups were in the area including one that had K16, K35, and J45 socializing together. K38 and J51 were still playing with each other. All the whales were heading slowly up island although there was a lot of milling along the way. J31 was seen pushing J56 around and both Dave and Ken (who arrived later after finishing his encounter with transients) got photos of J56’s belly to show that she is a female. The whales made it to Lime Kiln by about 1425 but then all the whales turned around and headed back south down the west side of San Juan Island. The encounter ended at 1440 off Lime Kiln.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388