2020 Encounters

Encounter #10 - Feb 26, 2020

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Enc Date: 26/02/20

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 10

Observ Begin: 09:45 AM

Observ End: 11:45 AM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers: Katie Jones

Pods: J

Location Descr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 27.50

Start Longitude: 123 06.50

End Latitude: 48 21.00

End Longitude: 123 03.00

Enc Summary:

Jeanne Hyde called Dave just a little before 8am to report that she had been hearing residents on the hydrophone and was now seeing them crossing Haro Strait and coming toward San Juan Island. Dave then called Katie and they met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 0920. We arrived on scene a little south of and offshore of Hannah Heights at 0945. The first two whales we saw were J47 and J49 traveling south together with another juvenile a few hundred yards to the west of them. There was another three or four whales about a quarter mile to the south of J47 and J49. Around 10am, J47 and J49 caught up to the group ahead of them and they all began milling and acting like they were harassing a porpoise. A few minutes later, we had a pair of harbor porpoise come directly over to our boat and then disappeared. Looking at our pictures later, one porpoise had fresh killer whale teeth marks on it. Jeanne got photos from shore of this group and her photos clearly show at least one adult porpoise in the midst of the J pod whales. Some of the whales involved with the porpoise harassment were J31, J56, J36, J47, and J49.
We then moved offshore to find more whales and found the rest of the J16s spread out about a mile southwest of the porpoise harassers. We weren’t seeing any other whales to the west of us so we started heading back to the southeast to find someone new. We came across a loose foursome of J31, J56, J44, and J46 heading slowly southeast. Next we found J36 and J40 loosely spread also pointed southeast. The last whales we actually encountered were J41 and J51 traveling quickly southwest near the Hein Bank buoy. The encounter ended at 1145 with J41 and J51 although we continued to look for J pod whales as we headed east toward MacArthur Bank to investigate a newer sighting near there (see Encounter 11-2).

Photos taken under Federal Permits


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