Encounter #74 - Dec 29, 2020
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
ObservBegin: 01:20 PM
ObservEnd: 02:19 PM
Staff: Mark Malleson
Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro
Start Latitude: 48 17.8
Start Longitude: 123 42.4
End Latitude: 48 16.6
End Longitude: 123 50.9
Mark and Joe departed Victoria at 1200 to take advantage of a final fair weather day before a week of wind and rain rolled into the region. They travelled southwest to Race Passage and encountered three humpbacks in Becher Bay, foraging lazily side by side by side. They shortly departed the humpbacks and travelled southwest out of the bay, angling offshore in the direction of Pillar Point. Mark soon spotted a sliver of black on the horizon ahead of them and slowed as two distinct dorsal fins appeared again. They began the encounter at 1320 (48 17.8/123 42.4).
The two killer whales were travelling west-southwest in the Strait at about four knots. They were quickly identified as some rarely encountered outer-coastal Bigg's, T233 and her presumed first offspring, T233A, approximately three years old. After a few sequences of slow meandering travel, the animals hastened the pace, reaching 7-8 knots and travelling in a precise line. Mark and Joe moved away from the whales a few hundred meters and began scanning farther west and south, wondering if the hastened travel meant that others were in the area.
No other whales were observed, and the encounter ended at 1419 (48 16.6/123 50.9) as the two whales crossed into the United States, continuing quickly on their WSW trajectory. No predation was observed.