Encounter #3 (Seq #1) - Jan 25, 2020
Enc Date: 25/01/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 01:10 PM
Observ End: 03:55 PM
Staff: Dave Ellifrit
Pods: J, K, L
Location Descr: Juan de fuca Strait
Start Latitude: 48 16.50
Start Longitude: 123 22.48
End Latitude: 48 22.31
End Longitude: 123 24.28
Jane Cogan called Dave a little after 9am to relay reports of whales leaving Admiralty Inlet. Jane called again late morning to say that they were aboard “Morning Star” near the “R” buoy with Js, Ks, and some Ls heading west. Dave left Snug Harbor around 1205 and took a route through Baynes Channel and southwest until several miles southwest of Constance Bank before finally arriving on scene around 1310. The whales were very spread out, taking lengthy long dives, and most seemed to be foraging. The whales were heading westerly with many whales angling inshore toward Race Passage. Dave first encountered members of the K12s who were spread out in two loose pairs (K22/K33 and K12/K43) and a single (K37). The whales were not being easy to follow and often came up a long way away after a long dive. K21 was seen at a distance but he disappeared and Dave moved on to other difficult whales. L87 and L82 were seen traveling as a loose pair and then K20 and K38 seen after them, also in a loose pair. There seemed to be more whales to the north than the south so that was direction the boat moved whenever it moved on to the next whale in sight. L47 and L115 were seen and briefly swam under a rainbow. L116 was following these two by a couple hundred yards. J37 was encountered next but a nearby small whale that was probably J49 escaped un-photographed. To the northwest of J37, K16 and K35 were seen and photographed and then L72 and L105 in yet another loose pair.
By this point, Mark was back on the water on Mike 1 and was getting photos of whales Dave was never going to get to and it was time to start thinking about heading home anyway. Dave tried to end the encounter at about 1520 about halfway between Albert and William Heads. On the way home, J27 passed by south of the Victoria waterfront. Further east from J27, “Morning Star” had found most of the J16s while on their way home and Dave stopped to get pictures of J16, J26, and J42 before he continued on his way home too at 1555. Since the whales were so spread out, it was not the sort of day to say anything definitive about potential missing whales. We feel confident that the L12s, L54s, and L88 were not present this day but probably all of the Js, Ks, and L4s, L47s, L72s, plus L87 and L90 were. Once we look at all the photos from the day and photos from Puget Sound, we will see if everyone got photographed but all members of the groups present were alive as of December, 17, 2019.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388