top of page
UAV Encounter #5- April 10, 2024
Screenshot 2024-06-24 at 8.58.34 AM.png
Your financial support makes our work  possible





ObservBegin:01:00 PM

ObservEnd:03:24 PM

Vessel:KCB III

UAV ID:Skagit

Pilot:Michael Weiss

Operators:Michael Weiss

Other Staff:Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers:Molly Henling, Carly Lourie


LocationDescr:eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca

Start Latitude:48 18.00

Start Longitude:122 58.90

End Latitude:48 15.92

End Longitude:122 58.01



After we left the group of Bigg’s off South Beach (Encounter 33-1), we went looking for J pod. We first headed southwest towards Hein Bank. Once we had hit the bank and stopped to take a scan, we turned southeast on a line to somewhere to the right of Smith Island. We went in this direction for about ten minutes or so before stopping to take another scan. Michael spotted a distant fin to the west-southwest of us so we headed that direction and the encounter started around 1300 somewhere in the vicinity of the VA buoy.

J pod was trending very slowly to the west and was spread out south to north in multiple groups. The southernmost group was the largest and included the J14s (minus J49), J22s, J31s, J35s,along with J36, J46, and J53. J44 and J49 were rolling around together a few hundred yards to the north of the larger group. The rest of the J16s looked like they were another few hundred yards north of J44 and J49. And yet another couple of males could be seen even further to the northeast of them. We got what ID shorts we could of the whales and also got the new drone up for several flights over them. Some of the large south group moved off to the north but, eventually, all the groups started to merge. All the whales were moving slowly and doing some milling, sometimes stalling out. The J16s joined the larger group and then so did the J19s and J39. J27 had to come from the farthest away but he had joined all the rest of J pod by about 1445. J pod was still in a single slow moving group when they turned back to the southeast and were angled towards Admiralty Inlet when we left them at 1524.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


bottom of page