Encounter #49 - Sept 14, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Enc Date: 14/09/20
Enc Seq: 2
Observ Begin: 04:38 PM
Observ End: 06:00 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro, Bill Moore
Pods: K, L
Location Descr: Sombrio Point
Start Latitude: 48 27.1
Start Longitude: 124 18.7
End Latitude: 48 30.4
End Longitude: 124 24.3
Mike 1 with Mark, Joe, and Bill departed the dock at Gateway Marina at 1605 to follow up the 1450 report of a few spread westbound Southern Residents off of Magdellena Point. It was only 12 nm from Magdellena to the mouth of the Port of San Juan, so Mark calculated that they would find them between 6 and 8 nm miles west of the earlier reported position by the time they got back out to the area. The visibility was less than a mile but with them spread out it would make it easier to find them.
Mark slowed down when he got 8 miles west of the previous sighting and trolled along at 8 knots to the east. Joe and Bill were out front of the console on either side, and Mark even took the odd glance behind them as he continued on with all three of them scanning in all directions.
At 1638, when they were ~2.5 nm SSW off Sombrio Point (48 27.1/124 18.7), Mark stopped and shut off the engines and came out from behind the console to scan and listen. He said to Joe and Bill, "They have to be here." They both said in unison, "They are here. We thought that is why you stopped! A bull had surfaced up ahead of them at the edge of their visibility approaching them. They soon confirmed K33 and moved slowly through the area to conclude that the animals were spread out from north to south in a line as they slowly worked their way west with brief foraging dives. The Mike 1 crew was only able to find six animals, K33, K26, L54, L88, L108, and L117. It was likely that the K12's, K14's and L54's were there in their entirety, but with the limited visibility, they were not able to confirm. Perhaps there were some others that were well ahead or behind.
It had been a long day, so they decided to end the encounter at 1800 (48 30.4/124 24.3) and return to the dock at Port Renfrew.