Encounter #12 - Feb 26, 2020
ObservBegin: 02:10 PM
ObservEnd: 04:00 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro, Val Messier
Start Latitude: 48 21.8
Start Longitude: 123 20.9
End Latitude: 48 19.9
End Longitude: 123 29.0
Mark was hard at work in the early stages of a home renovation when a whale watching colleague, Valerie Messier, called mid-morning, alerting him to a group of killer whales she spotted from shore that were southbound from Haro Strait into Baynes Channel. He watched them pause in front of his condo in Oak Bay for a brief meal before continuing SW towards Staines Point (south end of Trial Island). Joe met Mark and Val at the dock, and the three headed out to Constance Bank to begin the encounter. It had already been a great day for CWR, with Dave putting in a strong effort to the east, collecting Encounters #10 and #11! Encounter #12 commenced at 1410 along the north edge of Constance Bank at 48 21.8 N/ 123 20.9 W.
The T137's and T099's were both present. The whales were spread out as Mike 1 approached; T137A and T099C were the furthest east and offshore, T137 was on her own to the west and inshore, the rest were grouped tightly in between.
They converged in less than ten minutes and traveled closely for the remainder of the encounter.
As a whale watch, RHIB approached the group at 1440, and having collected left-side ID photos from each individual present, Mike 1 disengaged and headed south in search of more. They had not quite picked up speed when a small cetacean appeared just a half-mile off the bow, and as it surfaced again, it was clearly a small humpback! After spending 20 unsuccessful minutes attempting to collect an ID photo of the youngster's tail fluke, the trio decided to loop back to the Bigg's. Radio relays suggested that the group had perhaps nabbed a seal, though when Mike 1 arrived back on scene, there were no signs of predation. The animals were tightly grouped and high-speed porpoising towards Race Rocks and the southwest, though they were making little more than 5 knots over the bottom fighting a strong flood current. After collecting a few right-side ID shots, The Mike 1 crew ended the encounter two miles east of William Head at 48 19.9 N/123 29.0 W and turned for the harbour at 1605. The whales could still be seen from almost as far as the Victoria harbour entrance and seemed set on their SW path of travel, leaving Race Rocks to their west.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388