2021 Encounters

Encounter #16 - April 3, 2021
J58

J58

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J pod resting

J pod resting

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J37 taillob

J37 taillob

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

another spyhop

another spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J57 taillob

J57 taillob

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J26 taillob

J26 taillob

©Center for Whale Research 2021

spyhop

spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

spyhop

spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

spyhop

spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J58

J58

©Center for Whale Research 2021

help
CAN
we
TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 03/04/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 16

ObservBegin: 01:03 PM

ObservEnd: 04:25 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers: Katie Jones

Pods: J

LocationDescr: San Juan Channel, Spieden Channel, Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 35,28

Start Longitude: 123 03.27

End Latitude: 48 41.35

End Longitude: 123 15.07

 

EncSummary:

After receiving phone calls from Jane Cogan relaying reports of J pod being sighted near Friday Harbor heading up San Juan Channel in a resting formation, Dave and Katie met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1230. We got on scene at about 1300 with J pod still in a resting formation near the San Juan Island shoreline a couple miles northwest of Point Caution. The encounter began at 1303. At 1315, we went in for a quick photo-ID pass. J pod was still resting and not arching so we let them pass us by while we got proof of presence photos and then pulled way off to let them wake up. By the time J pod had made it to Rocky Bay about a half hour later, a lead group had moved ahead of the others by a little bit and this appeared to be the J19s and J36. The whales looked like they were beginning to wake up by the time they made it to Reuben Tarte and a part of J pod gave the onlookers there a nice pass by. By this time, the rest of the J16s had also split from the main group and looked like they were foraging on the Jones Island side of the channel.
The bulk of J pod traveled slowly west into Spieden Channel with a lot of rolling and tactile behavior. The J19s and J36 rejoined the large group while J16, J26, and J42 caught up to the rest by the time they had made it to about mid-Spieden Channel. The whales became more active as they approached Center Reef with several tail lobs and a couple of big, high spyhops before spreading out as they headed west into Haro Strait. Most of the J35s took the more northerly inshore route while others began foraging west of Danger Shoal. Another large group appeared to still be socializing. J35 foraged by herself near the western tip of Spieden Island while J44, J47, J53, and J57 rolled around and played with one another a few hundred yards to the south of her. We then moved back offshore and to the west to the large socializing group that included the J31s, J37s, J41s, J40, and J46. This group was rolling around and tactile. J26 was following this group before he passed behind us and headed offshore. J39 was also in the general area. The large tactile group broke up some and we followed a small group that consisted of the J37s, J40, and J46 as they began moving quickly northwest about a quarter mile off the Stuart Island shoreline. As this group moved closer to Turn Point, the J31s rejoined them and now the J35s were paralleling the group while closer to the Stuart Island shoreline. Nearing Turn Point, the J35s joined the offshore group and all these whales turned west and toward us. We shut off the engine and then the whales began milling all around/under/beside the boat for a couple minutes while we sat there. J57 rolled around on his mom’s back right off our stern before J35 did a slow turn and a slower glide right along side us with J57 in tow. J35 had had a similar relaxed attitude around the research boat when J47 was young and she had also brought him over to introduce him years ago. J38 appeared again and he and J47 were socializing together off Turn Point. The whales began moving off to the west-northwest in the direction of Moresby Island. There was still a lot of milling going on as the whales spread out and we ended the encounter at 1625 about a half mile off Turn Point.