With an early morning notice that whales were on the west side of San Juan Island, the Wild Orca team departed Snug Harbor at 9:46 AM and headed down Haro Strait along the west side of San Juan Island. Whales were encountered just offshore of Hannah Heights at 10:15 in the morning.

With good wind, calm waters, the team was able to conduct distant lateral sampling behind and to the side of the whales’ path. With Eba’s keen nose, the research vessel is able to stay 300-1000 meters behind the whales which minimizes any potential disturbance.

In less than an hour the team located and collected the first sample of the day. Over the course of the next four hours Eba, Jim and Giles collected five additional samples. Many thanks to the Center for Whale Research drone team who notified us that one of the whales they were video documenting had defecated! We were able to make our way to that location and collect that valuable sample.

Research Vessel

R/V Cheena


Southern Resident Killer Whales


J Pod

Research Activities

Fecal Collection

This work is made possible in part by a grant from
Rose Foundation