Encounter #63 - September 5 , 2019
Encounter Number: 63
Enc Start Time: 09:20
Enc End Time: 15:30
Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Michael Weiss, Stewart MacIntyre
Pods or ecotype: J and K pods and L87
Location: Haro Strait
Begin Lat/Long: 48 28.30/123 07.60
End Lat/Long: 48 22.31/123 01.50
Reports of SRs on the westside of San Juan Island began rolling in by about 0830 so the crew headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 0900. We saw our first whales around 0920 offshore of Pile Point. The whales were very spread out and the first whale we got near was K37 and he was headed south. Several other spread out K pod whales were also seen heading south before we saw our first J pod whale who was J39. A short time later we saw the J19s and K43 traveling south in a group. About a half mile to the southeast of them we found L87 foraging by himself. He too continued south. Around 1100, most of the whales had turned around and began traveling slowly north.
Small groups were beginning to form and we saw all the K14s tight together heading north. A mixed group of Js and Ks east of the K14s and nearshore just south of Hannah Heights were milling and socializing before turning around and heading down island again. Most of the whales spread out into small groups and singles as they headed south and offshore. Once they neared the north end of Hein Bank, most of the K pod whales began heading west and became even more spread out. J pod was two or more miles to the east and seemed to be moving southeast near the south edge of Salmon Bank. The J16s were not present and had been reported to be up near the Coal Docks. We ended the encounter with J44 heading southeast near the south end of Salmon Bank at 1530 before dropping Michael off on the UW poop boat (who were with the west bound K pod whales) to do some drone work.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388