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2022 Encounters

UAV Encounter #12 - May 30, 2022
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Photos taken under Federal Permits




ObservBegin:11:50 AM

ObservEnd:02:58 PM


UAV ID:Columbia

Pilot:Michael Weiss

Operators:Mia Lybkær Kronborg Nielsen

Other Observers:Rachel John


LocationDescr:Haro Strait

Start Latitude:48 29.30

Start Longitude:123 08.22

End Latitude:48 35.06

End Longitude:123 12.40


The team had heard that J pod was still on the west side in the morning, and with clear weather they decided to conduct some behavioural observations. The team left the dock at 11:29, and was quickly on scene with whales, arriving with whales off Hannah Heights at 11:50.

The whales were initially spread in small groups. In their first flight, the team found the J37s (including new calf J59), along with the J17s and J51, who was in full social mode away from the rest of his matriline. The whales seemed to be focused on socializing, particularly the young whales, with J57 and J59 being particularly active.

The whales grouped up a bit as they moved north towards Lime Kiln. The team cut off shore as the whales approached the park and waited for them further up island. When the team resumed their flights, the group had been joined by the rest of the J19s, the rest of J14s, as well as the J16s.

While still in a fairly tight group, the whales had settled more into a travelling and resting pattern, with less intense socializing. J19 was generally in the lead, and the J16s positioned themselves slightly off from the rest of the group.

As the whales continued past San Juan County Park, the J19s pulled further ahead and away from the rest of the group. Once the whales reached Mitchell Bay, they started splitting up a bit more along matriline lines. The team ended the encounter at 14:58 as the whales moved past Kellet Bluff, continuing north.

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