Encounter #16 - Mar 14, 2019
Encounter Number: 16
Enc Start Time: 12:20
Enc End Time: 16:10
Observers: Dave Ellifrit
Pods or ecotype: Transients
Location: Swanson Channel and Boundary Pass
Begin Lat/Long: 48 43.90/123 17.72
End Lat/Long: 48 44.23/123 09.16
Tom Cogan called Dave late morning to report that they were hearing whales on the hydrophone. After spotting them, the Cogans went out on their boat “Morning Star” with Melisa Pinnow aboard and called again to say that they had identified the whales as the T10s and T2Cs and that they were heading north near Gooch Island. Dave grabbed his gear, headed for the boat, and left Snug Harbor a little before noon.
“Orcinus” arrived on scene around 1220 where the T10s and the T2Cs, minus T2C2 and T2C3, were traveling slowly north tight to the east shoreline of Moresby Island. Several whales from this group stopped and briefly logged at the surface. After a long dive, the whales moved more into the middle of lower Swanson Channel and began to wake up a bit. T10 did two big cartwheels and T2C did one. A whale appeared from the north and this turned out to be T2C3. T2C3 logged briefly at the surface about a quarter of a mile north of the other whales when all the whales went on another long dive. When the whales came up again, T2C3 had re-joined the group and everybody continued north.
“Morning Star” had left the scene a while ago and had gone on a whale search up Boundary Pass toward East Point. A bit before 1300, they found the T49As near East Point heading quickly southwest down Boundary Pass. “Orcinus” left the T2Cs and T10s at about 1310 in mid-Swanson Channel to head over to where the T49As were in Boundary Pass, arriving on scene mid-way between Blunden Island and Johns Pass twenty minutes later. South of South Pender Island, the whales turned west with T49A1 about a half mile to the south of the other T49As. All the T49As were traveling fast and T49A1 was on a converging course with the others. T49A1 joined the rest of the T49As by the time they turned north at the south end of Swanson Channel.
By this time, we had heard that the T2Cs and T10s had turned around and were heading south again in Swanson Channel. At 1400, the T49As had slowed down and were traveling in a tight group just a little north of Moresby Island. The T10s and T2Cs were briefly seen logging at the surface north of the T49As off Mouat Point before they went on a long dive. Suddenly four or five new whales appeared heading south about three quarters of a mile north of the T49As and then all the whales went on a long dive. After an extremely long long dive, all the whales came up a good distance away heading very quickly southeast toward the Pender Bluffs. Almost all the whales were in one single socializing group close in to the dark rocks of the bluff. T19B and T19C were identified so now we knew at least the T18s had joined up with the others. T2C2 also appeared well offshore of the others where he kept a low profile. The large group traveled along the rocks as they came down the bluffs, crossed the Bedwell Harbor entrance, and moved east along South Pender Island’s south shoreline. The T10s reappeared traveling almost a half mile behind the large group. T49A1 had moved offshore by himself and appeared to be foraging. T2C2 also showed up traveling slowly all by himself another quarter mile behind the T10s. The encounter ended at 1610 with the large group off the mouth of Plumper Sound and the other four whales still spread out behind them as they all headed slowly up Boundary Pass.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Video taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines