2019 Encounters

Encounter #48 - July 16, 2019
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Date: 16-Jul-19

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 48

Enc Start Time: 13:45

Enc End Time: 15:10

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: David Ellifrit, Michael Weiss

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Clark Island

Begin Lat/Long: 48 41.34/122 45.57

End Lat/Long: 48 42.54/122 46.59

Encounter Summary:

While on scene with the T65As and T77s (see encounter 47) Dave and Michael received a report of more whales near Matia Island. At 1345, they arrived on scene at the south end of Clark Island. The whales were close into the rocks, hunting harbor seals, and at first the team could not safely get close enough to identify the whales. Dave decided to circle around the north side of the island and approach from the other side. Once the team was in position on the east side of the island, the whales soon began moving towards them. A close pass near shore allowed Dave to identify that the whales present were the T124As, including the T124A2s which often travel separately, along with typically lone male T124C and T86A1, for a total of 11 whales. The group spread out slightly as they moved north along the Clark shoreline. When they hit the northern tip of the island, they commenced a bout of seal hunts. The whales milled at the north end of the island for nearly an hour. Most individuals were feeding and socializing, with lots of vocalizing at the surface, breaching, and tailslapping. T124A3A was particularly active, rarely surfacing without performing a tail-throw or a breach. T86A1 and T124C would occasionally break off from the main group and continue hunting while the others fed. As the whales actively hunted and socialized, the team heard nervous vocalizations from nearby hauled-out seals. The team was able to confirm that the group was hunting and successfully killing seals when individuals surfaced with seal carcasses on their rostrum or in their mouths. Dave and Michael called the encounter at 1510, as the whales began to slowly trend northwest.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

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