Encounter #73 - Dec 28, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 03:07 PM
ObservEnd: 03:59 PM
Vessel: Mike 1
Staff: Mark Malleson
Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro
LocationDescr: Victoria waterfront
Start Latitude: 48 14.6
Start Longitude: 123 27.7
End Latitude: 48 13.9
End Longitude: 123 30.8
Mark and Joe decided to head out on Mike 1 with hopes the Bigg's reported in Port Angeles, or perhaps others would be in the area.
As they were leaving the dock in Victoria harbour at ~1250 they received a report that there were Bigg's killer whales exiting Port Angeles harbour. This made three days in a row that killer whales were spotted there. It was reported that members of the T064's were present, and it was believed to be them seen on December 27th as well. No members of the T064 group had ever been confirmed in the waters of the Salish Sea, and Mark had only encountered them once in southeast Alaska during a Fisheries and Oceans survey during the winter of 2009.
Christopher Hanke on Saratoga/ Puget Sound Express out of Port Townsend came across the reported Port Angeles killer whales at 1335 off of Ediz Hook and reported to Mark that they had exited Port Angeles harbor and was heading north for Race Rocks. Mike 1 continued SW towards Victor Golf after stopping to identify a humpback whale ~ 1 nm NW of the Victor Hotel buoy. Christopher gave Mark the last position of the Bigg's as they were leaving them at 1416 (48 10.1/123 26.6) and mentioned that they hadn't been able to confirm their identity but staff member Bart Rulon, photographer/naturalist, was in the process of flipping through the catalog with hopes to confirm.
Mark and Joe spotted the group at 1507, traveling north towards them ~ 2 NM southwest of Victor Golf.
They were able to identify T064B, T064B1 and a younger one assumed and later confirmed to be T064B2. Joe also confirmed the T075C's and thought possibly the T075B's as well until they heard back from Saratoga that Bart had confirmed T077, which was who Joe had initially thought could have been T075B. T077 was with her youngest calf, T077E, but no other of her offspring were present, making this group a total of 7 individuals.
Within a few minutes of the start of the encounter at 1518, the group had stalled out and had grabbed what looked like a seal at 48 15.0/123 28.8, and prey shared for a few minutes before making a direction change to the west.
Mike 1 stayed with the group for close to another 40 minutes making sure they had decent left and right side shots of the group, especially the newest addition to the T064B's, T064B2, which was not in the latest Fisheries and Oceans catalog. The encounter ended at 1559 ~.5 NM southeast of the Victor Foxtrot buoy (48 13.9/123) as the whales started to track to the southwest.