Encounter #66 - Dec 4, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 10:08 AM
ObservEnd: 11:54 AM
Staff: Mark Malleson
Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro
Location Descr: Victor Golf
Start Latitude: 48 18.8
Start Longitude: 123 22.4
End Latitude: 48 15.8
End Longitude: 123 35.4
Mark received a call from Joe Zelwietro at 0911 that he spotted a few killer whales, with at least 2 bulls, south east of Constance Bank headed west. He had gone up on the hill with hopes that the group that Mark had the evening before or some others would be in the area. Mark had joked with him earlier in the morning that if he did spot some it would guarantee a spot on Mike 1!
They left Victoria harbour at 0950 on Mike 1 and headed towards the south west corner of Constance Bank. Within a few minutes could see a bull on the horizon and as they got closer they could see several other animals spread south for approximately 2 nm. With this large spread it appeared as though it could be Residents until they saw the unmistakable fin of T019B over a half mile away. The encounter started at 1008 (48 18.8/123 22.4) ~ 6 nm east of Race Rocks.
They decided to begin with the closest animals and work their way to the south to confirm that all the animals from the evening before were present and ensure that no new ones had joined in the 18 hours since Mark left them between Turn Point, Stuart Island and Moresby Island.
The first pair they photographed was T034A and her newish calf T034A1; they then worked what looked like T034 and T034B which they lost track of, but re-found and confirmed at the end of the encounter.
The next group of 4, a few hundred metres to the south was the 25-year old bull T019C with an 8-year old male T037B1 traveling close to T019C's older brother T019B and T037B1's grandmother, T037.
T019B and C's grandmother, T018 was slightly farther south traveling with the 13-year old sprouting male T049A2 and his younger brother T049A3. The most southerly animals were T049A2 and A3's mom T049A, and their younger siblings, T049A4 and T049A5.
Mark and Joe had seen a bull well ahead of the group to the west, likely T049A1, so they worked their way toward Race Rocks until they spotted him along with T019B and C's mom, T019.
The only one they hadn't confirmed was T037B but seeing as Mark had photographed her the evening before and she was likely overlooked in the spread they decided to end the encounter at 1154 (48 15.8/123 35.4) ~3.5 nm SSE of Beechey Head. The animals were making their way west at a steady 6 -7 knots with the outgoing ebb current and no sign of predation was observed during the entire encounter. After downloading pictures that evening, Joe came across a distant shot from early in the encounter of the missing T037B.