Encounter #24 - Mar 27, 2019
Encounter Number: 24
Enc Start Time: 15:25
Enc End Time: 18:05
Vessel: Morning Star
Observers: Melisa Pinnow, Jane Cogan, Tom Cogan
Pods or ecotype: Transients
Location: Rosario Strait
Begin Lat/Long: 48 33.938/-122 45.356
End Lat/Long: 48 31.170/-122 46.305
On the morning of 27-Mar-19, whale watching boats found multiple groups of transient killer whales in the vicinity of Rosario Strait. As the day went on, all the groups eventually came together in the Thatcher Pass area of Rosario Strait. Melisa met Tom and Jane at Snug Harbor and left the dock at 1425 aboard “Morning Star”. At 1525, “Morning Star” arrived on scene in Rosario Strait with T46D, who was quickly heading north alone on the east side of Blakely Island. There were two more northbound groups about a quarter of a mile behind T46D, one closer to the middle of Rosario Strait (the T36Bs, T99s, and T137A), and another group farther to the west, closer to the Blakely Island shoreline (the T36As and T49As). Soon after, the T36As and T49As turned to the east, moving closer to the middle of the strait and the other group. The two groups then came together and stalled out to socialize. Many spy hops, aerial scans, half breaches, tail slaps, and pec slaps were observed. Some of the whales were also very tactile with each other.
At 1645, more whales were spotted to the south, east of Thatcher Pass. “Morning Star” headed that way and found the T46s (minus T46D) and T137s (minus T137A) all grouped up and slowly milling about, seemingly waiting for T46D and T137A to rejoin them. “Morning Star” stayed for a few surfacings before heading back to the big social group. The big social group had since split into three groups and fanned out. The T49As, T99B, and T99C were now heading slowly south as they continued to socialize while the T36As and T36Bs were still slowly heading north as they goofed off and playfully pushed T36B’s calf around at the surface. The third group was made up of T36, T99, T99D, and T137A and they had formed a resting line behind the T36As and T36Bs. Eventually T36, T99, T99D, and T137A turned south and the T36As and T36Bs slowly followed after them.
By 1730, all of the groups had trickled back into the same area outside of Thatcher Pass. The T46s had arrived from the east and T46D had apparently re-joined the rest of the family at some point. The T49As, T99B, and T99C arrived from the north first, then T36, T99, T99D, and T137A. The T36As and T36Bs brought up the rear and all the whales slowly meandered west toward to the entrance to Thatcher Pass. The T49As then split from the other whales and headed into Thatcher Pass. When this happened, the rest of the whales turned around and headed south in Rosario Strait, hugging the James Island shoreline as they went. The encounter ended at 1805.
Photos taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines