2020 Encounters

Encounter #13 - Feb 29, 2020

The Southern Resident orcas need your help like never before.
together we will be a strong collective voice for the whales.


Enc Date: 29/02/20

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 13

Observ Begin: 10:25 AM

Observ End: 03:06 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: J

Location Descr: Haro Strait, Swanson Channel

Start Latitude: 48 10.00

Start Longitude: 123 35.00

End Latitude: 48 45.36

End Longitude: 123 16.90


The morning’s flurry of whale phone calls began a few minutes before 9am with Jane Cogan calling Dave to report that she was hearing echolocation on the hydrophone. Shortly afterwards, Jeanne Hyde called to say that she had J19 and other whales heading north off Lime Kiln. After a bunch more phone calls to and from various people, Dave headed to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1025. Whales were seen shortly after leaving the harbor not far from Kellett Bluff. One or two others were foraging off the mouth of Open Bay. J37 was seen chasing a salmon off the south end of Kellett Bluff. J pod ended up being very spread out from the one side of Haro Strait to the other for the whole day as they headed slowly north. Dave went back and forth across the strait for the entire encounter, slowly picking off individuals. The best group seen all day was mid-afternoon in lower Swanson Channel and included J31, J56, J40, J42, J46, and J51. However, the moment Dave got parallel with this group, they caught the wake of a freighter heading toward Cowichan Bay and surfed right past him before splitting up. The encounter ended at 1506 in mid-Swanson Channel off Beddis Rock with the whales still spread out and still heading slowly north. All members of J pod were eventually found this day but L87 did not seem to be present again. We assume he is off the coast somewhere with K pod or the rest of L pod.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

© 2020 Center for Whale Research

The Center for Whale Research is a 501c3 nonprofit organization registered in Washington State.

All rights reserved. No part of the material found on this website may be reproduced or utilized in any form, or by any means, without the prior written consent of the Center for Whale Research.  All members of CWR are non-voting members.