2022 Encounters

Encounter #17 - April 11, 2022
T123A

T123A

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T65A2 and T65A

T65A2 and T65A

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T123A

T123A

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T65A2

T65A2

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T123A

T123A

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T123C and T123

T123C and T123

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T65A

T65A

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T123A breach

T123A breach

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T123C, T65A4, and T65A6

T123C, T65A4, and T65A6

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

milling

milling

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg

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EncDate:  11/04/22

EncSeq:  1

Enc#:  17

ObservBegin:  01:20 PM

ObservEnd:  03:15 AM

Vessel:  Orcinus

Staff:  Dave Ellifrit

Pods:  Transients

LocationDescr:  San Juan Channel

Start Latitude:  48 37.09

Start Longitude:  123 05.95

End Latitude:  48 35.91

End Longitude:  123 04.30

 

EncSummary:  

Dave was in the CWR office working on the previous day’s J pod encounter when he heard over the radio that transients had been found in Rocky Bay. It was reported that another group joined the first and that all the whales were milling and feeding in the vicinity of O’Neal Island. It was pretty breezy in Haro Strait but the whales were not far away so Dave headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1255. “Orcinus” got on scene around 1320 about a quarter mile north of O’Neal Island. The whales, previously identified as the T65As and the T123s, were still milling and feeding near the same spot where they had been found over an hour earlier. There was a large blubber oil slick with lots of gulls flying overhead and swooping down to pick up scraps or dip the oil. Most of the whales seemed to be milling in the same area although one of the boats reported seeing a single animal near the O’Neal Island shoreline. The group would go down for their long dive at the same time to feed although some whales came up before others. Early in the encounter, T65A2 and T123A briefly split from the others and moved over toward the north shoreline of O’Neal Island for one series of surfacings. When they came up from their long dive, the pair was already heading back toward the other milling whales. T123A breached once and then did a couple of taillobs as the two of them rejoined the others.
For the next hour and a half, the whales continued to mill and feed without going anywhere although they did drift southeast down San Juan Channel a little. No carcass was ever seen but whatever they killed and were eating was big enough for ten whales to feed on for hours. The encounter ended at 1515 as the slick was dissipating near the south end of Rocky Bay with the whales still milling. As “Orcinus” was leaving the area and heading home, it was reported over the radio that the whales had finally finished feeding and were heading down San Juan Channel.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388