2020 Encounters

Encounter #2 - Jan 24, 2020

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Enc Date: 24/01/20

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 2

Observ Begin: 01:40 PM

Observ End: 03:05 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: L

Location Descr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 26.12

Start Longitude: 123 08.23

End Latitude: 48 24.17

End Longitude: 123 09.13

Enc Summary:

Jane Cogan called early afternoon to let Dave know that Southern Residents were being heard on the Lime Kiln hydrophone. A few minutes later, Jeanne Hyde called to say she was seeing whales from Lime Kiln heading south in Haro Strait. Dave grabbed his gear, headed to Snug Harbor, and left in the boat at about 1315. Jeanne had said the whales were a bit offshore so Dave headed down island about a mile and a half offshore to about Hannah Heights to take a scan with the binocs. After another phone call to Jeanne to hear where she last saw the whales, Dave continued south until he was a couple miles southwest of Kanaka Bay to take his next scan.
Backlit blows and dorsal fins were soon seen at about 1340. A group of five whales were moving southwest in a tight group. They were backlit and the male was coming up at a slight angle so the whales were putting on a bit of an exotic look and Dave briefly dared to hope that he might have northern residents. But the male mostly looked like L89 which is who he turned out to be and the whales were the L22s and the L94s. Not long after getting on the L22s and L94s, more whales showed up ahead of them pointed south. This was the L77s plus L25 and L85 and they soon joined the L22s and L94s in one tight group of ten whales heading south-southwest. The whales were a bit un-cooperative at the beginning of the encounter and had lengthy long dives but got friendlier as the encounter went on. Last year’s calf, L124, looked good and has a rather unique looking left saddle. It is open but the lower back part of it is missing. In addition, an L84 right side looking right side saddle and L108 like abrasions on L124’s dorsal will make it one of the easier whales to identify. The whales took a turn to the southwest and the encounter ended at 1505 with the whales just a little north of Middle Bank on a line for south of Seabird Point.
This was CWR’s first encounter with the L12s in inshore waters in over a year. It is unclear whether the L12s had snuck in and headed north before heading south again in Haro Strait or if they had gone all the way around Vancouver Island and come down from the north. Unfortunately, L41 was not present for the entire encounter. Given his age and that he looked a little thin in our January 2019 encounter, we fear he may be gone and will consider him missing unless he shows up unexpectedly in an upcoming encounter. CWR’s last record of L41 was from August 11, 2019 when Mark Malleson photographed him with the rest of the L12s and other Southern Residents in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

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