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Encounter # 7 • March 14, 2011 • J's and L87

J27 off Stuart Island

Encounter # 7 • March 14 • J's and L87

Observers: Ken Balcomb

            Whales were reported seen by Washington State Ferry personnel near Friday Harbor at 0810, and there were several reports throughout the day of whales in the channels surrounding Shaw Island. In the afternoon, Jim Maya reported seeing members of J pod in New Channel just north of Speiden Island. Ken aborted his inflatable boat trip to Victoria to respond and encountered 20 members of J pod and L87 spread out and heading southwesterly between Speiden Island and Stuart Island toward the confluence of Speiden Channel and Haro Strait at 1606. The whales appeared to be in relaxed loose travel/forage mode as they headed out into the turbulence of Haro Strait, but no obvious feeding episodes were observed. The various sub-sub groups of whales were spread over several square miles and were swimming in various directions when the encounter ended at 1722. The whales could be heard on the Orcasound hydrophone at 1730 and were seen heading north off Halibut Island, BC. Apparently, they headed back up toward the Gulf Islands in the night.

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These photos were taken under MMPA permit #532-1822and/or DFO license #2006-08/SARA-34.