Encounter #50 - Sept 16, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 01:36 PM
ObservEnd: 04:12 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
LocationDescr: Sombrio Point
Start Latitude: 48 26.3
Start Longitude: 124 18.6
End Latitude: 48 23.5
End Longitude: 124 09.1
Mark departed the Pacific Gateway Marina out of Port Renfrew at 1300 to head back to Victoria.
He decided to stop ~4nm SSW of Sombrio Point to drop the hydrophone for a listen as the visibility was less than a mile and was hoping to detect the Southern Residents one last time.
Just as he was about to turn the hydrophone on he heard multiple killer whale blows spread out. Once he got his bearings on the direction they were coming from he quickly pulled in the hydrophone and turned on the engines to Mike 1 to troll in their direction. He soon saw a pair of small fins at the edge of his visibility which surprisingly looked like Bigg's. He soon confirmed that he had members of the T046B's as the next pair to come into his view were T046B1 along with her newest offspring, the unmistakable leucistic T046B1B. He could see a few other members of the T046B's scattered around the area as well as a distant bull which turned out to be T046D.
The group seemed to be slowly traveling west back towards Port Renfrew until at 1404 T046B1 started to chase what turned out to be a seal. T046B1B came along her side immediately once she had the seal trapped at the surface. They both took runs at the seal as they circled it and within a few minutes the rest of T046B1's offspring arrived from the outskirts to get in on the action.
At 1429 T046B1 finally pulled the seal under and drowned it. She and her immediate family prey shared until 1501 while T046B and T046D stayed on the outskirts.
They then all headed east and spread out. Mark assumed that he would eventually spot other members of the T046's but it seemed that only T046D was present.
He ended the encounter at 1612 as they continued east 3nm SSW of San Simon Point.