Encounter #19 - April 1, 2020
Enc Date: 01/04/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 01:41 PM
Observ End: 03:40 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson, Hanna Malleson
Location Descr: Oak Bay Flats
Start Latitude: 48 23.3
Start Longitude: 123 15.6
End Latitude: 48 22.5
End Longitude: 123 21.6
Mark and Hanna left Victoria harbour at 1250 on Mike 1 to survey the Juan de Fuca Strait to the west of Victoria. Mark called Gord Rowles to let him know of their plan and to have him look through the Big Eyes to make sure they didn't overlook any whales in the more immediate area.
As Mike 1 was about to enter Race Passage, Gord called over the VHF to alert them of killer whales in Oak Bay. Mike 1 spun around and headed east towards Trial Island. Gord had spotted a bull and a smaller individual slightly south of the Oak Bay Flats west bound. Mark and Hanna slowed down south of Trial Island slightly west of where Gord had last seen them to have a scan and within a minute Hanna spotted the pair north west bound heading towards a large aggregation of feeding gulls with a few bald eagles circling above a likely herring ball. Mark got out his Swarovski binoculars and was able to see that they were looking at either T077A or T049C along with what was likely T065A5 following a few metres behind. This juvenile male had been reported in Active Pass a few days before. Once Mark got a photograph of the pair he was able to conclude that was the 6 year old male T065A5 along with T049C, not T077A who has remarkably similar notches in his dorsal fin.
Surprisingly, this pair passed by the herring ball and likely feeding seals and made their way towards another bait ball slightly to the north west closer to the Chain Islands. Again they passed by this one, split up and headed south west towards Trial Island with T049C now a half mile or more ahead.
As T049C approached the southern tip of Trial Island he did 3 cartwheels and then a breach.
T065A5 made his way towards him and they appeared to prey share as they made their way into the shoreline of Trial Island. After a minute or two of milling against the rocks below the lighthouse they continued west across Victoria's waterfront. Mark and Hanna ended the encounter at 1540 just under 2nm east of the VH buoy and returned to Victoria harbour.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388