Encounter #45 - July 6, 2019
Encounter Number: 45
Enc Start Time:1 2:40
Enc End Time: 17:50
Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Michael Weiss, and Flora Miles
Pods or ecotype: J and K pods
Location: Haro Strait
Begin Lat/Long: 48 41.57/123 14.13
End Lat/Long: 48 26.19/123 05.36
After hearing reports of resident whales heading down Boundary Pass, Dave Michael, and Flora headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1200. We arrived on scene with the leaders heading south less than a mile north of Turn Point at about 1240. Members of the J19s and K13s were spread out in the lead as they rounded Turn Point and traveled down Haro Strait. J and K pods were spread out in small groups and singles as they traveled quickly south down the strait. Most of the whales moved to the mid-strait where there was a particularly ugly tide line which made working conditions kinda difficult. By 1415, the whales were off Mitchell Bay when we decided to call it quits since the water conditions looked like they would be bad until at least past Lime Kiln.
We went back to CWR and downloaded our photos when we noticed, of course, that the waters had calmed down again. Michael and Flora left to commence drone studies from shore down the west side and Dave went back to Snug Harbor to go out again in the boat. “Orcinus” was back on scene around 1605 as the whales had slowed down and were milling in the False Bay to Eagle Point area. There were a few spread out individuals foraging offshore of False Bay while several loose groups of whales were inshore between False Bay and Hannah Heights. J31 and the new calf were seen milling around with J40 and J46, among others, again in tow. Several young males (J45, K42, K44) were also rolling around and socializing in the same area. J44 and J53 were also seen again socializing with other whales but J17 could not be found. All the whales headed southwest spread out in small groups and individuals in the direction of Hein Bank and more sloppy water. The encounter ended at 1750 several miles offshore of False Bay and Eagle Point due to deteriorating sea conditions. While neither of the encounters with J and K pods on the 5th and 6th were really good ones for saying anything definitive about who might be missing, we did have two days in a row where all the members of the J17s and K13s were seen except for J17 and K25. These were the only two whales that were not seen on either one day or the other. We will continue to look for J17 and K25 in upcoming encounters but the chances of finding them are starting to look a little grim.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388