Encounter #40 (Sequence 1) - Sept 5, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Enc Date: 05/09/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 02:05 PM
Observ End: 05:57 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
Pods: J, K, L
Location Descr: Coyote Bank
Start Latitude: 48 17.0
Start Longitude: 123 30.8
End Latitude: 48 24.2
End Longitude: 123 09.3
Encounter Summary (Sequence 1):
Mark left Victoria harbour at 1315 on Mike 1 to work through the Southern Residents that had come back into the area after a long absence.
During a morning trip with Prince of Whales, he had a brief distant look at what looked likely to be all of K and L pods eastbound in two groups. At ~1100, the L12's and a few K pod members appeared to be the lead group moving quickly eastbound in the direction of Eastern Bank, over 20nm away where the J's were reported to be foraging. The rest of the K's and L's were over 3 nm behind them, spread out, and moving slow.
As Mark was taxiing out of Victoria harbour on Mike 1, he asked an American whale watch colleague if the J's were showing any sign of acoustic detection for the lead inbound group as he felt they would have been well within the range to hear them as he was leaving Victoria harbour on Mike 1. J's had come back into the inside waters on September 1st and were last reported still foraging at the bottom end of Hein Bank. Sure enough, they had recently grouped up and started to quickly travel west towards Coyote Bank. They were reported to be moving quickly and closing in on the U.S./Canada border, so Mark headed off to the south to see if he could track down the lead group of L12's and portion of K's before they met up with the whale watch fleet and J pod.
As Mark was passing south of Trial Island, he got word that the whale watch fleet saw the incoming group approaching at the southeast corner of Coyote Bank.
Mark decided to turn and head for the trailing main concentration of K's and L's, which were now slightly southwest of Race Rocks still spread out and moving slowly east. He started the encounter at 1405 when he came across K21 eastbound leading the procession 1nm south of Race Rocks (48 17.0/123 30.8). There were a few groups that were quite animated and were generally pointed northeast towards Constance Bank.
At 1532 the K14's and the K12's which were the lead group and slightly south of the rest, picked up the pace and started porpoising in the direction of the J's, L12's, and K14's which were socializing on Coyote Bank ~8nm to the southeast. For close to a minute, they were doing 15 knots over the bottom! Mark had heard that some of the J's had started heading west and had crossed the border, so he broke off and intercepted them before they met up with the incoming clan members.
At 1547 he came across J22, J38, J37, and J40 at 48 17.5/123 15.5 slowly westbound towards the incoming fellow clan members, which appeared in the distance within 10 minutes of Mike 1 arriving.
The 4 J pod members broke off and met up with different animals as they came together. More J's trickled past Mike 1 as Mark sat and listened to surface vocals and watched them socialize at the west edge of Coyote Bank.
The bulk of the clan made their way towards Middle Bank and had started to group up on the Canadian side of the border. L85 and L25 were leading the charge for San Juan Island, and Mark ended the encounter at 1757 (48 24.2/123 09.3) as he could see that it wouldn't be long before the majority of the clan were in U.S. waters and Ken and Dave could work through them and get any ID shots that Mark had missed.
Mike 1 arrived back in Victoria harbour at 1815.