Encounter #22 - April 16, 2020
Enc Date: 16/04/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 11:54 AM
Observ End: 02:22 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson, Hanna Malleson
Location Descr: Race Rocks
Start Latitude: 48 17.6
Start Longitude: 123 33.7
End Latitude: 48 17.6
End Longitude: 123 31.8
Mark received a call from Paul Pudwell reporting a sighting of 4 or 5 killer whales westbound off of the Sooke Bluffs.
Paul was going to go out and take a look at them, which allowed Mark to finish up some work before he and Hanna would head out on Mike 1.
Paul called to let them know that the whales were eastbound after he found them and watched them prey sharing off of Sooke. Mark and Hanna left the dock at Victoria harbour at 1108 with a quick fuel stop on the way out of the harbour and headed west towards Race Rocks.
They arrived on the scene at 1154 ~1 nm south of Christopher Point. Paul departed as they arrived and reported a group of 5 animals, two cows with three juveniles, one of them within its first year.
The group was eastbound towards Race Rocks, and after the second sequence of predictable travel, they disappeared. Mark stopped the boat and rapidly scanned for several minutes with the Swarovski's and spotted them after almost accepting defeat close to a mile to the east near Race Pass slightly inshore of their previous track (48 18.2/123 32.5). They had found a prey item and were starting to prey share when Mike 1 arrived back to view who they finally determined were the T075Bs and T075Cs. Without knowing what they got, Mark and Hanna decided to pick up a small piece of skin and blubber with the dip net for later analysis.
The T075B's were now in the middle of Race Pass and appeared to be resting against the current. The T075C's hadn't been seen for close to 10 minutes since the previous prey sharing and then a young seal, no more than a month or two old, came up for air wide-eyed in front of T75C and her newest calf T075C2 who reappeared slightly inshore of the rest of the group. They then all started to harass and torment this seal for 45 minutes before they finally put it out its misery.
At the 40 minute mark, when Mark and Hanna thought they had finally drowned it and were prey sharing, the whales surfaced. They were moving quickly towards the west edge of Race Rocks as the seal had almost eluded them and was within 100 meters of the rocks. They then did a few more rushes at it, and T075C grabbed it and dragged it under to finish it off finally. Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1422 hrs as the whales skirted around the south side of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and continued in a southeasterly direction.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388