2021 Encounters

Encounter #5 - Jan 20, 2021
J35

J35

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J35_J57_J47

J35_J57_J47

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J19s

J19s

©Center for Whale Research 2021

K27

K27

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J40

J40

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

spyhop

spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

K44

K44

©Center for Whale Research 2021

K20

K20

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J57_J35_J40

J57_J35_J40

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J57_J35

J57_J35

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J47_J35_J40_J37

J47_J35_J40_J37

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J47_J35

J47_J35

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J41_sunset

J41_sunset

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J36_K44

J36_K44

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J26

J26

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J45

J45

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J27

J27

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J22

J22

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J31

J31

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J39

J39

©Center for Whale Research 2021

J27

J27

©Center for Whale Research 2021

shipsunset

shipsunset

©Center for Whale Research 2021

EncDate: 20/01/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 05

ObservBegin: 02:50 PM

ObservEnd: 04:35 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff:Dave Ellifrit

Pods: J

LocationDescr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 32.79

Start Longitude: 123 11.00

End Latitude: 48 28.34

End Longitude: 123 06.32

 

EncSummary:

Dave had just noticed some texts from Jane Cogan saying she was hearing J pod calls on their hydrophone when the phone rang. John Durban called to say they were out on their research boat “Helen” with some K13s (or at least K34) northeast of D’Arcy Island and were just barely on the American side. It was sounding like SRs had come down Haro Strait mostly on the Canadian side. Mark and Joe had headed out in “Mike 1” to get photos of the whales on the Canadian side of the border. With hope that a few whales would be still be on the American side of the border, Dave grabbed his gear, headed to Snug Harbor, and left in the boat at 1425. Once he was out into Mitchell Bay, he gave the SR3 Drone team a call on the radio to see if there were any whales that the US researchers could get to. They soon replied back that they had a few spread out whales south of Lime Kiln. Excellent. As Dave started to head south, he got a call on the radio from Tom Cogan saying they were seeing a pleasure boat with maybe something out in the direction of Baynes Channel. Dave pointed offshore a bit and began heading that way. The pleasure boat had vanished but a male killer whale came up right in the direction “Orcinus” was heading. This was J27 and he was traveling slowly south about a mile west of the County Park and the encounter began there at 1450.
After J27 went down for a long dive, Dave headed down island to find some other whales. “Orcinus” went around “Helen” flying a drone over J39 off Land Bank while he was chasing a salmon (he caught the fish) to see if any whales were south of him. Further southeast, Dave saw what appeared to be a logging whale but, as he got closer, it turned into a “logging whale log”. There was a lot of logs and driftwood floating around and Dave did a number “Orcinus’s” port trim tab after he hit a large one while heading in the direction of a blow heard. That whale turned out to be J39 and he was moving southeast off the south end of False Bay. Since he was not seeing any whales south of J39, Dave headed back up island to find a whale that “Helen” said they thought was J22 as they watched her chase and catch a salmon. A whale appeared off Kanaka Bay and it was indeed J22 and she was still milling and foraging in that area. “Helen” then reported that they had J31, J56, and J46 off Hannah Heights so those were the next whales to go too. They were in a loose group heading southeast toward Kanaka Bay. J46 and J56 came together and milled briefly like they may have been chasing or sharing a fish. By 1620, the light was fading but “Helen” had found one last group on their way home while Dave was photographing J31, J56, and J46. J26 and J45 were heading southeast off Hannah Heights while J27 was offshore heading southwest. J26 and J45 then took a hard right, headed southwest, and spread out. The encounter ended at 1635 about a mile off Hannah Heights with J26 as he steamed southwest and out.

EncDate: 20/01/21

EncSeq: 2

Enc#: 05

ObservBegin: 3:06 PM

ObservEnd: 04:33 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro

Pods: J, K

LocationDescr: Beaumont Shoals

Start Latitude:48 28.3

Start Longitude:123 13.2

End Latitude:48 24.3

End Longitude:123 12.4

EncSummary:

At ~1330 Mark received a report from Jane Cogan that she was hearing J and some K pod calls on their hydrophone. The animals were known to be in the Strait of Georgia two days prior and Mark assumed they would soon be heard or seen from shore heading south in Haro Strait. Shortly after Jane’s initial acoustic detection she confirmed they were south bound near Darcy Island and most of the group was well on the Canadian side so Mark and Joe got into motion.
They departed Victoria harbour on Mike 1 at 1440 and made their way north through Oak Bay and Baynes Channel. He had confirmation from John Durban, who had recently arrived on scene, that the bulk of the animals were trending south and still on the Canadian side. As Mike 1 exited Baynes Channel eastbound, Mark confirmed with Dave over the VHF that J27 was along off the San Juan County Park, and J39 was not far away. Several other animals were well south and west, and as Mark put the radio down he spotted the first dorsal fin just ahead.
They slowed and began the encounter at 1506 (48 28.3/123 13.2)). J37 was the first whale they encountered, and she was apparently the farthest southwest. Nearby, the J41s surfaced and after a few breaths were joined by J49 and J40. J37 caught up and the group zig-zagged their way south-southwest in the moderate ebb current toward Sea Bird Point at the south end of Discovery Island.
Moments after the J14s and 41s surfaced from a long dive, a small group consisting of K20 and K27 with her son K44 raced onto the scene from a few hundred meters north. J36 and the J19s were alongside these Ks and another 400 meters north of them were several others, also coming quickly south. These whales proved to be J35 and her youngsters J47 and J57. All of the animals all converged just west-southwest of the VD buoy at Beaumont Shoals and milled socially for a minute before they all slipped under the surface for an extended dive.
When the animals surfaced, they were in two groups approximately 200 meters apart, and J36 and K20 had moved off to the northeast and some distant whales. Those two were not sighted for the remainder of the encounter. The eastern of the two groups now left with Mike 1 consisted of the J14s (less J45) and J35 with her young. To the west were the J19s with K27 and K44. All of these animals were milling at the surface, seemingly undecided on a direction, though the ebb current continued to pull them southwest. After several sequences of this behaviour the animals all suddenly turned west and picked up the pace. Mark and Joe paced them for a few minutes but were eventually left behind and ended their encounter at 1633 (48 24.3/123 12.4) as most of the J14s, the J35s, the J19s, and K27 with K44 steamed west at about 8 knots, loosely spread south of Sea Bird Point.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388