2022 Encounters

Encounter #13 - March 1, 2022
J37 and her new calf

J37 and her new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

The J16s and J19s

The J16s and J19s

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J49 bellyflop

J49 bellyflop

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37 and her new calf

J37 and her new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37 and new calf

J37 and new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37 and new calf

J37 and new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37 and new calf

J37 and new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37 and new calf

J37 and new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J22 tail flick next to J16 and J36

J22 tail flick next to J16 and J36

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J42 face plus J19

J42 face plus J19

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

J37's new calf

J37's new calf

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg

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EncDate: 01/03/22 

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 13

ObservBegin: 04:45 PM

ObservEnd: 05:35 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: J Pod

LocationDescr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 32.22

Start Longitude: 123 10.52

End Latitude: 48 33.55

End Longitude: 123 12.14

 

EncSummary:

The day started with an early morning phone call from Monika Wieland-Shields of the Orca Behavior Institute relaying a report of J pod heading southwest in Boundary Pass toward Turn Point. It was really foggy in the area so going out at that time wasn’t an option but there was hope that it would clear later. Dave headed over to the CWR office to do various stuff. Around 1045, about two hours after the original sighting, Jane Cogan texted to say she was hearing SR calls on the hydrophone. The fog was clearing so Dave started to gear up in hopes of catching the whales still north of Mitchell Bay. However, while loading the car, blows were heard and whales were seen already south of CWR plunging toward Bellevue Point. Dave decided to try to get photos from shore instead and drove to Lime Kiln. There was a large group at least a mile and a half offshore of the park heading southwest toward another fog bank. The photos had a lot of heat haze (it was a warm day for the first of March) but J38 and J39 could be identified at least. Since it looked like J pod was heading out, Dave went back to CWR and got on with the rest of the day.  

Later that afternoon, while back at home, Dave received a series of calls from Lodie Gilbert relaying messages from Sara Hysong-Shimazu that the whales were still on the westside and that she had seen a possible new calf with J37 from shore at Land Bank. J pod was also now heading north again. Dave then scrambled and headed to Snug Harbor and left in the boat around 1635. About ten minutes later, whales were seen off Bellevue Point. The first whales were in a tight and active group that appeared to be socializing. This group included the J19s, the J16s minus J26, and J22 and they were all rolling and tactile as they headed north past the County Park. A couple of single whales, including J47, were offshore of the larger group. J38 was seen at least a mile away to the northwest of the others. Since the J37s were not in this group and time was a factor due to failing daylight, Dave called Monika to get a bit more info on where Sara had seen the J37s in relation to the J16s and J19s group. Monika relayed that Sara had said the J37s and J40 were ahead and offshore of the larger group. Dave looked through his binocs and saw some distant blows all the way across the strait in the direction of Kelp Reef and headed that way, passing J35 and J57 along the way. The distant group turned out to be exactly who was being looked for as it was J40 traveling with the J37s and they were maybe a half mile east of Kelp Reef. J37s new calf was sighted immediately although it took several surfacings to properly photograph the quick little whale. The calf appears to be pretty young as it is still a little lumpy. The dorsal fin was upright which means the calf is over a day old but, due to its “lizard head” look, it is probably younger than a couple of weeks. Usually, new calves start filling out behind their blowhole after their third week. The calf appears to have a closed saddle on its left side with a hint of a black spine and a tiny finger. The J37s and J40 continued north in a tight group although they occasionally zig-zagged a little. Around 1720, all three of the J35s joined the J37s and J40 and the group of seven continued up Haro Strait with a few zigs and zags to the northwest and back north towards Kellett Bluff. The encounter ended around 1735 in mid-Haro Strait off the north end of Andrews Bay.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388