Encounter #53 - Sept 27, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 04:30 PM
ObservEnd: 07:10 PM
Staff: Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers: Katie Jones, Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
LocationDescr: Haro Strait and eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca
Start Latitude: 48 18.80
Start Longitude: 123 07.19
End Latitude: 48 29.20
End Longitude: 123 07.28
Reports of Southern Residents coming in the Strait of Juan de Fuca had been pouring in all day. The whales were spread out and some began moving over to the American side of the border when they were off Port Angeles. When we got word that the whales were heading north towards San Juan Island, Dave, Katie, and Kelley met down at Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1540. The whales were still southwest of Hein Bank when we left and we finally arrived on scene a little west of Hein Bank at 1630. The whales were spread out in singles and small groups from west to east in the Hein Bank area. All the whales were pointed at either Eagle Point or South Beach on San Juan Island.
The farthest west pair of whales were K21 and K34. They rolled around together a little as they headed north-northeast. K20 and K38 were ahead of them and K20 did a couple of back dives. Another quarter mile to the east of the K20s, K35 and K44 were traveling rambunctiously together before K35 sped off in the direction of SJI. Yet another quarter mile to the east was a small tight, slow moving group that included K14, K26, K36, and K43. K42 joined them soon afterward. After them, we moved back west and found K16 heading north by herself. K35 showed up and the pair sped off toward SJI. K27 and K44 also showed up in the same general area. We then moved back southeast where we heard the rest of the K12s were. We found K22, K33, K12, and K37 spread out down there all traveling by themselves at various speeds. K37 was fast traveling toward South Beach while the other three moved along at a slower pace. Since the good ID light was fading, we began heading toward home by 1830. We found K14 and K26 again off American Camp and K20 and K38 were foraging off the south end of False Bay. We ended the encounter at about 1910 off Hannah Heights where we found K34 chasing a salmon before he straightened out and headed up island.