Encounter #35 - July 25, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Enc Date: 25/07/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 02:25 PM
Observ End: 06:45 PM
Vessel: Orcinus, Chimo
Other Vessel: Dave in Orcinus, Ken in Chimo
Staff: Ken Balcomb, Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers: Katie Jones
Pods: K, L
Location Descr: Haro Strait and San Juan Channel
Start Latitude: 48 28.50
Start Longitude: 123 10.51
End Latitude: 48 30.05
End Longitude: 122 57.39
After receiving reports of K and L pods heading east toward SJI at Middle Bank, Katie and Dave met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1425. The boat needed fuel so we had to make a stop at Roche Harbor to top off before we got going. We saw our first whales off the north end of False Bay at 1550. Some of the L47s were very spread out foraging as they pointed north near Kanaka Bay. L47 did a belly flop. We moved south to find other whales and found L83 with L110 in the same general area. L110 chased a salmon just south of False Bay.
There was a large gap between the L83s and the next whale. We eventually found a whale off South Beach plunging east toward Salmon Bank. By the time we caught up to the single female, we were on the north part of Salmon Bank. The whale turned out to be L90, one of the whales we could not find the day before. L90 was moving quickly east and was not surfacing regularly so it made it hard to get good shots of her. Her appearance was rather stiff and rigid so there is a chance she may be pregnant again.
All the other whales except for the L47s and L90 had earlier headed north through Cattle Pass and up San Juan Channel. We made it to the Ks and other Ls around 1740 while they were near the south side of Shaw Island. The whales appeared to be in three groups and were in the middle of a turn-a-round. The first group to move south back past us was L87, L82, and L116 with L106 behind them. Most of the L55s were to the east of L87 and the L82s and we could only get proof of presence shots on them.
The K16s, L72s, and K21 were the farthest west whales as they headed south in a loose group past Danger Rock. K16 did two belly flops. We stayed with this group as they traveled slowly down San Juan Channel until we ended the encounter at 1845 off Fisherman Bay. Ken came out in “Chimo” and had an evening encounter with the whales as they exited Cattle Pass.