2020 Encounters

Encounter #6 - Feb 19, 2020

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EncDate: 19/02/20

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 6

ObservBegin: 05:05 PM

ObservEnd: 05:50 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro

Pods: J, K

LocationDescr:  William Head

Start Latitude: 48 24.7

Start Longitude: 123 15.9

End Latitude: 48 23.4

End Longitude: 123 14.2

EncSummary:

Mark was already on his way into town late in the afternoon when he received a message that a large group of killer whales was being spotted on the Race Rocks webcam. He and Joe mobilized Mike 1 and departed the dock at Victoria harbour just after 1630. There were two whale watching verses departing the area as Mike 1 arrived and radio relays confirmed that the animals were indeed Southern Residents and members of both J and K pod were seen.

Mark and Joe began the encounter at 1705 offshore of William Head at 48 18.8N/ 123 29.3 W with several members of J pod. The animals were loosely spread towards the Vancouver Island shoreline in groups of two to four. Believing they had the leaders, and with deteriorating conditions and diminishing light they got to work. J26 was the next whale they saw, followed by J38 and several others travelling closely and quickly north against the last of the ebb current. Mike 1 slowed up to let K21, J47, K34 and several others to catch up. K26 was traveling with K35.

At 1705 the trailing group blew by Mike 1 to catch up to the others and with no additional blows or fins spotted anywhere to the south they ended the encounter in dusky light at 48 20.6 N/ 123 28.7 W, just 2nm north of their starting point. No members of the J11's were spotted or photographed, nor was L87. The whales were spread across several miles in fading light and for the most part traveling in their matrilineal groups, so it is not unlikely that they were nearby.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

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