2020 Encounters

Encounter #33 - July 4, 2020

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Enc Date: 04/07/20

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 33

Observ Begin: 03:15 PM

Observ End: 08:30 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers: Katie Jones

Pods: J

Location Descr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude : 48 30.00

Start Longitude: 123 07.03

End Latitude: 48 37.87

End Longitude: 123 13.28

Enc Summary:

Throughout the late morning and early afternoon, Dave received multiple calls from Jane Cogan, Ken, Katie, and John Durban relaying reports on the progress of J pod as they travelled east in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. When we heard that the whales were nearing the American border, Katie and Dave met down at Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1450.
The encounter started at 1515 when we saw our first whales about 3/4s of a mile south of Hannah Heights. This was J35 and J47 and they were pointed toward the San Juan Island shoreline while spread out and foraging. To the south of them, J37, J16, J26, J42, and J49 were spread out and traveling down island off False Bay. J45 and J53 were offshore of these whales foraging individually. The J16s and J37s briefly came together south of False Bay before splitting up again. J42 and J49 stayed together a little longer and were socializing with J49 doing a lot of splashing and rolling. He spyhopped once and then floated vertically in the water with just the tip of his snout showing for about twenty seconds before spyhopping again and rolling over to show how excited he was to be playing with J42.
We moved on to a male foraging by himself another half mile offshore. This was J27 and he was taking very long, long dives and only coming up for two or three breaths before going on a long dive again so we got a proof of presence shot of him and went back inshore to find someone else. J39 was traveling up island by himself off Eagle Point. J31 and J56 were ahead and inshore of J39 just south of False Bay. J40 and J46 were also in the same area and J44 was foraging by himself a little south of them. We left these whales off the south end of False Bay around 1855 to head north to find the whales we had not seen yet which were the J19s, J22s and J36. We saw J45 again off Hannah Heights and then there was a big gap in whales until offshore of the County park where a few members of the J16s were. There were other whales off Snug Harbor and nearing Kellett Bluff so we passed up the whales in Andrews Bay and headed for the leaders rounding Kellett. Here we found J35 again as well as J22 and J41 spread out and foraging as they headed north. J19 and J51 also soon charged north past the bluff. J38 was about two miles off of Battleship Island traveling north by himself. We almost ended the encounter there with J38 but we still had to find J36 since she was the last whale we hadn’t seen yet. As we neared Snug Harbor, “Moja” told us they had the J16s just north of Smugglers Cove. We went to see if J36 had joined the others and she indeed had. We ended the encounter again there after getting a shot of J36 at 2030.

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