Encounter #69 - Dec 12, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 02:00 PM
ObservEnd: 03:01 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
LocationDescr: Oak Bay
Start Latitude: 48 26.2
Start Longitude: 123 16.4
End Latitude: 48 27.3
End Longitude: 123 15.7
Mark headed to town to work on Mike 1 and be ready to head out on the water if he received a report of killer whales.
At 1325 he received a call from George Hamilton who, while fishing in the Oak Bay Flats, reported a group of killer whales traveling fast eastbound through Enterprise Channel and turning northbound towards Baynes channel.
Mark called Joe to have him go to the rocks in front of his apartment where he would pick him up allowing an immediate departure from the dock.
Mike 1 departed Victoria harbour at 1330 and with a quick pit stop to pick up Joe a couple of minutes later they re sighted the killer whales milling off of Strongtide Island at 1400 (48 26.2/123 16.4). They slowly approached a group of females and juveniles which they recognized as the animals from the December 9th encounter near Race Rocks, the T075B's and C's. There was another group with them today, the T049B's. Several members of the group all of a sudden started breaching and at one point it looked as though there was three individuals airborne at one time! This went on for a few seconds until T049B2, T075B2 and T0753 worked their way over to the inside of the reef off the south western corner of Vantreight Island. A seal had narrowly escaped them as it had half its body out of the water on the rocks in the shallows as the trio circled around the rock. T075B3 did a final pass by only to realize that the seal was out of its reach and then joined the rest of the group that was milling around at the south end of Baynes Channel. This group, still very animated, continued circling around the area for the next 45 minutes and occasionally breached and tail lobbed before it became apparent that they had found a likely seal to prey share. The gulls arrived for scraps as the oil slick formed. Once this group of nine Bigg's had finished their kill they pushed north against the ebb current until they got into the back eddy inside the Ten Mile Point light. Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1501 as Mark and Joe watched them work their way as a tight group northbound along the shoreline of Ten Mile Point (48 27.3/123 15.7).