Encounter #34 - July 24, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Enc Date: 24/07/20
EncS eq: 1
Observ Begin: 05:05 PM
Observ End: 07:25 PM
Staff: Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers: Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
Pods: K, L
Location Descr: Boundary Pass and Haro Strait
Start Latitude: 48 41.43
Start Longitude: 123 12.35
End Latitude: 48 35.48
End Longitude: 123 12.38
After receiving various reports of Southern Residents having been found in Boundary Pass near Waldron Island, Kelley and Dave met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1645. Our colleague, Jared Towers, had encountered a few K pod whales and a little over half of L pod in Johnstone Strait two days earlier and they had arrived down here more or less when we expected them to. We arrived on scene with the leaders about a quarter mile north of the west entrance to Prevost Harbor at 1705.
L105 was the first whale we saw and a couple others were on the Stuart Island shoreline heading west toward Turn Point. Others, like the K16s and the L82s, were loosely spread behind the leaders and a larger group was reported to be behind these whales. L105 did several half breaches as he moved inshore towards the leaders and members of the K16s and L82s also did several taillobs along with a couple of cartwheels and breaches along the shoreline. L82 gave us a big spyhop too. The leaders rounded Turn Point at 1730 and began to spread out more as they headed quickly south in Haro Strait. The larger group also rounded Turn Point a little afterwards and this was the bulk of the L4s and L47s. L87 was also nearby.
Sub-adult males L106 and L110 were playing and rolling with each other as they broke off from the larger group. All the whales fanned out across the American side of Haro Strait as they headed rapidly south. There were a few pairs and briefly a couple of threesomes but the whales were very spread out. By the time we made it to Battleship Island, we received word that the leaders were already south of Smugglers Cove and out of reach. We were able to find everyone who should have been there that evening except for L72 and L90 but we could have easily missed them with how spread out the whales were. We ended the encounter at 1925 off Kellett Bluff with L103 and L123 while L86 was foraging by herself off the mouth of Open Bay.