2019 Encounters

Encounter #91 - November 2, 2019

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Enc Date: 02/11/19

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 91

Observ Begin: 01:29 PM

Observ End: 02:56 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: George Hamilton

Pods: K, L

LocationDescr: south west Carmanah

Start Latitude: 48 31.5

Start Longitude: 124 51.2

End Latitude: 48 31.7

End Longitude: 124 51.5


Mark and George left Victoria on Mike 1 at 0830 with intentions to survey the Juan de Fuca and hopes to get as far west as Swiftsure Bank.
At 0855 they came across close to 20 humpback whales scattered south west of Constance Bank and after a few minutes of getting some ID's they decided to continue west to take advantage of the great sea conditions. With no wind and minimal swell they worked their way out the middle of the Strait as far south as Sombrio Point before taking a line for the Port of San Juan. They arrived at the Pacific Gateway Marina in Port Renfrew at 1155 and decided to have a quick lunch at the restaurant which opened at 1200 before pushing on to the west. They departed the dock at 1235 and worked their way up the coast within ~2 nm of the shoreline. They got as far as the mouth of Nitinat River and after a decent binocular scan to the west they worked their way south west towards Swiftsure Bank. Mark spotted multiple humpback whale blows several miles to the south so turned to investigate. As they approached they could see there were somewhere between 60 and 80 humpback whales throughout the area (5nm east of Swiftsure Bank). At ~1325 Mark then spotted a bull dorsal fin in the mix and soon could see several others scattered throughout the area. He soon identified they were members of K pod and could see that they were foraging but trending north east. After working through them for ~ an hour George convinced Mark to go back to the huge concentration of humpbacks as they had been earlier interrupted with the sighting of Kpod as they were surrounded by several groups of 12-15 humpbacks. As they approached the big concentration of humpbacks to the south west Mark spotted more killer whales on the horizon further west with his binoculars. It was another decent sized group of animals coming in from the west traveling north east towards them and heading in the direction of the K's. The first two individuals that Mark was able to identify was L54 and L88. It appeared to be all of L pod with the exception of the L12's. Mark and George paralleled them for ~20 minutes as they made their way to the north east traveling at close to 9 knots. They ended the encounter at 1456 when the L's slowed down and started foraging at almost the exact location where they had come across the concentration of humpbacks and K pod. They could see the K's within a half mile of the L's but there was no sign of a greeting.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


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