Encounter #18 - March 20 , 2020
Enc Date: 20/03/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 09:53 AM
Observ End: 10:54 AM
Vessel: Mike 1
Other Observers: Bernie Lawless
Location Descr: Moresby Island
Start Latitude:48 42.9
Start Longitude:123 17.3
End Latitude:48 44.33
End Longitude:123 19.5
Mark received a text at 0720 from a friend who was exiting Bedwell harbour that there was a large group of killer whales southbound in Boundary Pass. He and Hanna were at the Ten Mile Point lookout watching sunrise and scanning for whales at that time and could see the perfect water conditions, so Mark arranged with his carpenter to take the morning off to find the group reported to the north.
They left Victoria harbour at 0845 on Mike 1 and made their way north up the west side of Haro Strait. Mark had contacted Lisa Moorby on North Pender Island to see if she could keep a lookout from shore as his friend reported that the large group was last seen heading northwest up the middle of Swanson Channel south of the Pender Bluffs. He had later called Mark to report a single male trailing the group near Gooch Island that Mark figured was T010C by a decent iPhone photo that was forwarded to him.
When Lisa couldn't see any sign of them from the lookout near Mouat Point, it made sense to head to the last known position as it appeared that they must have stalled out or turned around.
Mark and Bernie stopped to do a binocular scan when they got slightly north of Gooch Island, and with no sign of any blows or fins towards Stuart and Pender, they continued north up the east side of Moresby. At 0953, as they rounded Pelorus Point, they saw a group of killer whales off their bow coming towards them. They put the brakes on, and Mark immediately recognized the T010's and T049A's as they completed their last breath before going into a long dive. As Mike 1 trolled along back to the south waiting for the next sequence, Mark spotted more animals behind them at the north end of Moresby Island. He had a look through his Swarovski's and could see that they were milling as if on a kill and then saw an animal from the original group porpoising back to the north at Pelorus Point. They caught up to what turned out to be T049A2 leading the charge with the others sauntering along a couple hundred metres behind. Mike 1 and T049A2 arrived in unison to see T063, T065, the T049B's, and the T071's milling about in a social group. There was no evidence of a kill as there was no sign of a slick, birds, or any prey. The T049A's joined in the socialization, which lasted for several minutes as they slowly worked their way north up Swanson Channel within a quarter-mile of Moresby Island. The T010's were tight to the shore and didn't seem interested in joining the social group of 18 animals.
Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1054 as the animals reached the top end of Moresby Island and started to fan out as they continued traveling north on a line for Active Pass. As they were taxiing away past Canoe Rock, Mark received a report of another group of 3 killer whales southbound in Active Pass. He had promised Bernie to have him back to the dock by 1230, so he decided to leave them for Morningstar to confirm as they were on their way to check out the whales Mike 1 had found. Mark later heard that Morningstar had confirmed the T099s joined them from the north. This group of 25 were last seen in Trincomali Channel, which eventually parted ways with the T010's, T063, T065, and the 099's continuing north and the T049A's, T049B's and the T071's headed back south.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388