2021 Encounters

Encounter #25 - May 8, 2021
T63

T63

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T36B1

T36B1

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T63

T63

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T125A and T128

T125A and T128

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A3A, T124A, and T124D

T124A3A, T124A, and T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4A, T124D, and T124D1

T124A4A, T124D, and T124D1

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A and T124A6

T124A and T124A6

©Center for Whale Research 2021

the T124Ds

the T124Ds

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87

T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87

T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T128

T128

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T125A and T128

T125A and T128

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T128

T128

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T46B and T46B6

T46B and T46B6

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T63

T63

©Center for Whale Research 2021

the T46Bs

the T46Bs

©Center for Whale Research 2021

46Bs and T46C2

46Bs and T46C2

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T36B3 and T36B

T36B3 and T36B

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T36B and T36

T36B and T36

©Center for Whale Research 2021

help
CAN
we
TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 08/05/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 25

ObservBegin: 03:55 PM

ObservEnd: 06:30 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: northern Rosario Strait

Start Latitude: 48 40.29

Start Longitude: 122 44.80

End Latitude: 48 37.63

End Longitude: 122 45.53

EncSummary:

Jane Cogan called Dave to relay a sighting of a large group of Bigg’s killer whales in Rosario Strait off Lawrence Point on Orcas Island. Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left in “Orcinus” at 1445. Taking the inside route through the islands, “Orcinus” finally arrived on scene near Lummi Rocks at 1555. The whales had been spread out in groups heading south near the Lummi Island shoreline when the encounter began. The first whales seen were T65, T125A, and T128 traveling slowly together in a tight group. T36 and the T36Bs were following about 200 yards behind them. Another group was about a quarter mile behind these two groups but they were not coming up as often. Around 1610, all the whales stopped and began milling about a half mile south of Lummi Rocks. T65, T125A, and T128 briefly joined the T36s before all the whales began heading north again.
“Orcinus” headed up to the northern group who had surfaced near the west side of Lummi Rocks and were also heading north. The whales then put on the jets and began cruising quickly north a couple hundred yards off the Lummi Island shoreline. T63 was traveling by himself but was following a group of females and juveniles by about 150 yards. This group ended up being the T46Bs and T46C2. T46B1B was not present. The T46Bs and T46C2 were covering large distances on their long dives but were not arching at all on their short dives. T63 was surfacing more regularly but he had to move fast in order to keep up with the group. T63 had a large lump on his back between his blow hole and dorsal fin that was not there at the end of March. Hopefully it is just a temporary swollen bump that will go away in time but it may be something to keep an eye on if he sticks around. A few hundred yards behind T63, the threesome of T65, T125A, and T128 were catching up but were still a few hundred yards behind. They eventually caught up but moved several hundred yards to the southwest of the other lead whales. The T36s were still somewhere behind the rest of everyone else. By about 1715, all these whales were past Village Point on Lummi Island heading north toward Alden Bank. Around this time, “Morning Star” spotted another bull who turned out to be T87 and a few other whales near the north end of Clark Island. These whales were heading south so Dave decided to head over there before they disappeared down Rosario Strait. “Orcinus” got over there by 1730 and found the T124As (minus A1 and the A2s) and the T124Ds (minus D2) traveling quickly south in a loose group along Clark Island's eastern shoreline. T87 was following this group by a few hundred yards. The T124As and T124Ds made their way past Lawrence Point and kept heading south toward Peapod Rocks. T124A3A was surfacing more often than the other whales and always looked like he was trying to keep up. The whales spread out some just north of Peapod Rocks but all passed on the east side of them. Once south of Peapod Rocks, the whales spread out even more into singles and pairs as they foraged south down Rosario Strait. The encounter ended at 1830, mid-Rosario Strait off Buoy Bay.
Reports of the T123s heading west through the San Juan Islands had been filing in all afternoon. They were now heading northwest up San Juan Channel so there was hope of catching them on the way home.