2021 Encounters

Encounter #52 - Aug 14, 2021
Youngest matriline member T19C

Youngest matriline member T19C

Photo by Michael Weiss

Grandmother T18

Grandmother T18

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19 in the sun, with San Juan Island in the background

T19 in the sun, with San Juan Island in the background

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19

T19

Photo by Charli Grimes

Mother and son T19 and T19B

Mother and son T19 and T19B

Photo by Charli Grimes

T19B showing his eyepatch

T19B showing his eyepatch

Photo by Charli Grimes

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 08-Aug-14

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 52

Enc Start Time: 16:33

Enc End Time: 18:26

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Michael Weiss, Charli Grimes, Flora Miles

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: San Juan Channel

Begin Lat/Long: 48 39.281 N/123 02.023 W

End Lat/Long: 48 36.291 N/123 02.235 W

 

Encounter Summary:

The team was following reports of the T18s north of Orcas Island, slowly making their way into the islands. At 15:56, the team left Snug Harbor and headed northeast towards President Channel. When they arrived on scene at 16:33, the whales were making their way southwest through the southern part of President Channel, heading for Jones Island.

The whales were split into two distant pairs of animals. Hugging the Orcas shoreline was grandmother T18 and the younger of the two brothers in the matriline, T19C, while behind and further offshore was T19B and his mother T19. The team started by photographing the two offshore whales. While the two started their surfacing sequences together, T19 tended to only do brief sequences of two or three breaths, while T19B had more extended surfacing sequences. The whales were moving fairly quickly to the southwest.

After photographing the offshore pair, the team headed inshore to document the other two whales in the matriline. As the team headed their direction, the whales broke from the Orcas shoreline and headed to Jones Island, tucking far into the cove on the north side of the island before taking a long dive and heading south along the west side of the island. After clearing the Jones shoreline, the whales made a bee-line for Yellow Island. The researcher team followed them as they made their way between Yellow and McConnell Island, where the briefly milled and allowed the team to photograph both of their right sides.

The team broke from this pair to try for one more pass at photographing T19 and T19B. These whales had made their way clear to the other side of San Juan Channel, following the San Juan Island shoreline. The team made one approach and got a few more usable ID shots, but water conditions and lighting were quickly deteriorating. At 18:26, the team ended the encounter and headed back towards Snug Harbor, as the whales began to reform into a single group and continue south along the eastern San Juan coast.