Encounter #60 - Nov 19, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 11:36 AM
ObservEnd: 12:57 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson, Hanna Malleson
Location Descr: Victor Golf
Start Latitude: 48 16.0
Start Longitude: 123 25.4
End Latitude: 48 16.8
End Longitude: 123 35.2
Mark received a call from his friend Gord Rowles at 0936 that he had spotted a group of killer whales milling at Constance Bank and appeared to be feeding on a kill.
Mark, Hanna, and Fin left Victoria harbour at ~1030 on Mike 1 with hopes to relocate this reported group of 4 animals, which included one bull as Gord hadn't seen them again as they disappeared in the sun glare. He figured that they had either headed southeast beyond his visual range or were going southwest away from him, so Mike 1 started the search by heading south towards Coyote Bank, crossing over the area of Constance Bank where they had initially been spotted. At 1058 they stopped to photograph a pair of westbound humpbacks on the northeast corner of Constance Bank (48 21.5/123 20.8) and, after a binocular scan, continued the south to Coyote Bank. After a good scan while at Coyote Bank, it was decided to work their way west towards Race Rocks. At ~1130, Mark spotted a bull dorsal pointed south ~1.5nm east of the Victor Golf buoy. As Mike 1 drew closer, with no other fins insight, Mark and Hanna guessed it could be T049C as he had been seen patrolling throughout the area several times over the past few weeks. When they were inside a mile from the bull, they slowed down to confirm the bull's identity with binoculars and spotted three smaller fins a half-mile to the northwest of him.
Mike 1 started the encounter at 1136 (48 16.0/123 25.4) when Mark concluded that the bull was T251 and the other 3 were the remainder of the T252's. Within a few minutes, the group came together after T252, T253, and her newish calf T253A came over to Mike 1 for a curious pass by. T253 and her calf T253A were initially quite animated as T253 did a couple of breaches, and T253A zipped around the area. No obvious predation was observed as they continued on and tracked steadily to the southwest until the group made a northwesterly turn along the tide line southwest of Race Rocks. The bull, T251, once again separated from the trio and led the charge towards the feeding birds and scattered humpback whales ~ 1.6 miles south of Church Rock. As the skies darkened and the rain started, Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1257 (48 16.8/123 35.2) as the T252's worked their way west ~ 2.5 miles south of Becher Bay.