2020 Encounters

Encounter #41 - Sept 6, 2020
T18

T18

© Center for Whale Research 2020

T19C

T19C

© Center for Whale Research 2020

T19B

T19B

© Center for Whale Research 2020

T19C

T19C

© Center for Whale Research 2020

T19

T19

© Center for Whale Research 2020

T19B

T19B

© Center for Whale Research 2020

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 06/09/20

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 41

ObservBegin: 01:20 PM

ObservEnd: 01:56 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 36.18

Start Longitude: 123 11.54

End Latitude: 48 37.19

End Longitude: 123 10.15

EncSummary:

Dave got up early on the morning after our Encounter 40 with the entire Southern Resident Community with hopes that the whales would still be somewhere in Haro Strait. After breakfast, Dave drove down to the lookout over South Beach to look from shore. Unfortunately, there was a very heavy haze and not much could be seen although the water was calm. Blows could not be heard due to the engine noise of an extremely large number of sport fishing boats strewn from South Beach to Eagle Point. Dave then drove up the west side to CWR where it was clearer and decided to go on a search anyway just in case the whales were down south in the haze.
Dave left Snug Harbor in “Orcinus” around 0900 and headed down SJI Island and offshore on a trajectory toward Hein Bank. While east of Middle Bank, Dave received a report from a UBC boat of the T18s several miles west of False Bay heading towards SJI. Since there was still hope of finding residents, Dave kept heading south in search of them. The SR3 drone team were also out and looking for the SRs and we coordinated our search with their boat “Helen” being several miles to the east of “Orcinus”. By late morning, lots of boats were out searching and it was becoming apparent that the SRs had gone back out again in the night. When sitting between two large bait/bird balls couldn’t even raise a minke, Dave finally gave up and headed east toward “Helen” who were also giving up the search. We met up somewhere north of Eastern Bank and had a pleasant chat while lamenting the lack of SRs. We did see two female/calf pairs of harbor porpoise while we were floating around.
Dave finally started heading home and, since the last two days had used up more fuel than expected, decided to brave the Roche Harbor fuel dock on Labor Day weekend. The T18s had hit the west side of SJI a while ago and had traveled up island. They were at Kellett Bluff when Dave was passing it so he stopped for a brief look at 1320. “Orcinus” waited off north Kellett as the whales headed north along the rocks of the bluff. The whales passed close to “Orcinus” and continued heading slowly north toward Battleship Island. They then circled Battleship and began hunting in the kelp beds around it for about ten minutes. The four T18s then headed east for one series of surfacings before turning northeast toward Center Reef and the encounter ended there at 1356.

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