Encounter #44 - July 5, 2019
Encounter Number: 44
Enc Start Time: 12:05
Enc End Time: 13:03
Observers: Ken Balcomb
Pods or ecotype: Bigg's Transient Killer Whales
Location: Strait of Juan de Fuca
Begin Lat/Long: 48 17.713N/123 18.8W
End Lat/Long: 48 13.8N/123 13 8W
The J and K pod resident whales were reported on the West side of San Juan Island for the first time in two months, so Ken decided to search the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca to see if there were any Ls trailing them. Sure enough, about 30 minutes after leaving Port Angeles and in mid-Strait a little cluster of KW dorsal fins appeared on the horizon. On approaching them, the distinctive fin of T77A was evident, so it was worth a few minutes to check the whales out for identification. The whales were heading toward Dungeness Spit, and they spread out over several square miles after in what seemed to be a hunting pattern. They were diving for about ten minutes and surfacing facing briefly in various directions, but generally trending southeast. When a female and calf group allowed one close approach for photo-identification. T34A, a twelve year old female, had a very young calf accompanying her. That is around the age at which young female killer whales typically have their first-born. The Bigg's Transient baby boom continues, with an abundance of food - many seals and porpoises in this area!
Notes-Comments:Continuing on, Ken and Chimo went to the west side of San Juan Island to assist Dave in photo-identifying the residents - see encounter 43 for that story.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388