Encounter #62 - Nov 23, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Enc Date: 23/11/20
Enc Seq: 1
Observ Begin: 11:27 AM
Observ End: 01:51 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
Pods: J Pod
Location Descr: Victoria's waterfront
Start Latitude: 48 18.9
Start Longitude: 123 26.2
End Latitude: 48 22.7
End Longitude: 123 24.4
At ~1000, Mark headed up to Gonzales lookout to spot for whales with hopes to pick up the J's that had exited out of Admiralty Inlet the day before. They were last seen in the mid-afternoon pointed northwest near Partridge Bank.
Within a few minutes of scanning with a pair of 8 X 42 binoculars, he spotted some splashing well to the southwest of Constance Bank. Eventually, he confirmed the blow of a humpback whale as he was confirming that he also saw some smaller distant blows. He called his friend Gord Rowles to verify if they were killer whales with the use of Big Eyes from his 23rd-floor apartment. The active humpback had also caught his attention and was in the process of confirming the smaller blows as well! While still on the phone with Mark, he saw a group of spread out killer whales, which he felt were likely Southern Residents orcas.
Mark left Victoria harbour on Mike 1 at 1045 and worked his way out towards Constance Bank, expecting the lead animals could have made it there by now. After a good scan with no sign of them, he worked his way west towards where he had initially seen them. At 1127 Mark came across J19 traveling in a northerly direction towards Victoria (48 18.9/123 26.2). He then saw a group of females and juveniles and soon confirmed that both the new calves, J57 and J58, were with their respective mothers, J35 and J41, along with J51. J19 was soon to join up with this group, and they moved steadily to the north. Mark then located J38, J22, and J37 milling about as a threesome slightly south of the lead group, and J27 and J39 playing with each other a little over .5nm to the south of them.
A group of three southwest bound humpbacks came barrelling past the J's, and a few members of the pod momentarily turned around and started to follow them before turning back to the north.
Mark then spotted J26 to the northwest of the group, and as he made his way in that direction, he could see the remainder of the pod was starting to gather up and rendezvous. At ~1340, the entire pod had joined up ~ 2 miles south of Victoria harbour's Ogden Point breakwater (.5 nm west of the VH buoy). After a few minutes of slow northbound travel, they all turned around and started to spread out. They worked their way back to the southwest in the direction where they were first spotted earlier in the day.
Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1351 (48 22.7/123 24.4).