2020 Encounters

Encounter #71 - Dec 23, 2020
K27

K27

©Center for Whale Research 2020

Js Trial

Js Trial

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J57, J35

J57, J35

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J41, J58

J41, J58

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J19, J58

J19, J58

©Center for Whale Research 2020

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J57

J57

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J26

J26

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J57

J57

©Center for Whale Research 2020

K34

K34

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J58

J58

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J56, J31, J58

J56, J31, J58

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J47

J47

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J45, J40

J45, J40

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J44

J44

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J38

J38

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J22

J22

©Center for Whale Research 2020

J16

J16

©Center for Whale Research 2020

©Center for Whale Research 2020

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 23/12/20

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 71

ObservBegin: 12:15 PM

ObservEnd: 03:39 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro

Pods: J, K

Location Descr: Victor Hotel

Start Latitude: 48 20.5

Start Longitude: 123 24.7

End Latitude: 48 23.6

End Longitude: 123 17.7

EncSummary:

Once again, Gord Rowles was up with the sun making Mark’s job easy by spotting several killer whales roughly two miles east of Parry Bay at 1041. Based on the previous day, both Gord and Mark assumed residents, and Mark casually got in gear for another encounter. He met Joe downtown and they departed Victoria at 1200. The whales were well south of Victoria, still offshore of William Head and Parry Bay, and in similar fashion to the previous day, were well spread and foraging. The encounter started at 1215 (48 20.5/123 24.7). J19 was the first animal they observed, followed soon after by J38. J41 and 58 were foraging together near K20, the first K pod whale sighted for the day. Others soon followed, though once again the animals were multi-directional and would disappear for minutes at a time.
After confirming each matriline of J pod, and enough Ks to assume the same composition as yesterday, Mark received a call from a shore-based contact, Brenden Kelly who had spotted a small group of killer whales tight together well ESE of the known residents and were reported to be moving quickly east. Mark estimated the group to be three or four miles east of them and it was reported to contain at least one bull. Mark and Joe had accounted for each male in J pod and the male Ks they had spotted the previous day so figured they were likely some Bigg’s slipping past the Residents. They decided to confirm, departing the Southern Residents at 1332 (48 20.8/123 21.2) still foraging and moving northeast.
Returning to Victoria from their encounter with Bigg’s killer whales southeast of Trial Island, at 1439Mark and Joe spotted the eastbound Southern Residents beginning to group up ~ 1nm south of Brotchie Ledge (48 22.9/123 21.8) as they approached Clover Point. They slowed as they approached the animals and determined that J27 and the J14s were the most inshore group, and leading the charge east. They were closely followed by the bulk of J pod, the J16s J17s J19s and J22s, while both the K13 and K14 matrilines remained slightly offshore as they also worked east. The animals were lazily socializing as they passed a few hundred meters south of Clover Point, but accelerated toward Staines Point at the south end of Trial Island. There they seemed to flush some fish off the wall there, as some chasing and exuberant breaches were observed as they moved into Oak Bay and pointed at Baynes Channel. It’s not unheard of for SRKW to take that route in and out of Haro Strait, but they far more regularly opt to pass south of Sea Bird Point, off Discovery Island. However, the whales picked up the pace here reaching six or seven knots, so Mark shut down the boat and they watched the whales cruise into the Oak Bay sunset. Both of J pod’s newest additions, J57 and J58, were looking quite well bouncing around with the rest of their kin. The encounter ended at 1555 (48 23.6/123 17.7) with all of the animals pushing north for Baynes Channel.