Encounter #20 - April 5, 2020
Enc Date: 05/04/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 04:07 PM
Observ End: 05:14 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson, Hanna Malleson
Location Descr: Kelp Reef
Start Latitude: 48 31.9
Start Longitude: 123 13.9
End Latitude: 48 35.3
End Longitude: 123 15.1
Hanna and Mark left Victoria harbour on Mike 1 at 1115 to survey the Juan de Fuca Strait to the west of Race Rocks.
In the last few years, the killer whale sightings have been more reliable to the north, but strong north winds and adverse current made their decision to go west easier.
After making their way through Race Passage, they made their way out to the shipping lanes and stopped to scan south of Otter Point. With moderate outflow winds, they decided to quarter their way back towards the shoreline of East Sooke and headed east back to Victoria with a brief stop and scan at Race Rocks, returning to Victoria harbour at 1330.
At 1438 Mark received a call from George Hamilton, who had spotted a small group of killer whales while spotting from the Ten Mile Point lookout, northbound north of Beaumont Shoals. He noted that the winds had abated, and the seas had flattened out substantially since the morning.
Mark and Hanna drove back downtown and headed back out on Mike 1. With the help of George keeping track of this group which he now was confident that there were 4 individuals, including a large bull, Mark and Hanna spotted them within a mile to the south of the Kelp Reef marker. As they arrived, they could see a large bull traveling with a young sprouter or female and within a half-mile to the west another pair which looked like a female and a sprouting male. Mike 1 trolled along at 4 knots at the west edge of the group waiting for their next sequence and then spotted the bull on a kill and could see the other three moving quickly towards them. Once Mike 1 made it closer to the group, Mark was able to confirm the large bull as T069C and could see it was the rest of the T069's, four individuals. After a few minutes of prey sharing, they resumed their track to the north and passed over the eastern edge of Kelp Reef with T069 and T069E resuming their position ~ .25nm west of T069C and T069F.
Mike 1 ended the encounter off the southeast corner of Sidney Island at 1714 as the T069's tracked northwest towards Mandarte Island.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388