2020 Encounters

Encounter #8 - Feb 24, 2020

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EncDate: 24/02/20

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 8

ObservBegin: 09:40 AM

ObservEnd: 12:05 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers: Katie Jones

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Spieden Island

Start Latitude: 48 38.00

Start Longitude: 123 05.50

End Latitude: 48 39.50

End Longitude: 123 11.00



Holly Fearnbach (SR3) and John Durban (Southall Enviromental Associates), who run the aerial photogrammetry project to measure killer whale body condition, both called Dave in the early morning to say that John had found a group of transients while he was heading to Roche Harbor from Stuart Island. John found them just a little east of Battleship Island and they were heading east in Spieden Channel. Dave called Katie and they met at Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 0915. John had had to leave the whales to go pick up his research crew so Dave and Katie hoped to re-find the whales before they got back on the water in their research vessel “Helen”. Katie spotted the whales near the Spieden Island shoreline as they neared Green Point around 0940.
The whales turned out to be the T18s plus T60D and T60E and, when they came up from a long dive, they were split into two groups. T19C and T60D were hanging out together nearer to Spieden Island while the other four came up closer to mid-channel in eastern Spieden Channel. They all came up from their next long dive closer together pointed northeast. When they came up again after their next long dive, T19C and T60D were rounding Green Pt. near shore, much to the consternation of about eight Steller sea lions on the rocks. T18, T19, T19B, and T60E were already well around the corner heading west in New Channel. T19C and T60D quickly caught up to the others as they headed west along the Spieden Island shoreline. Around 1025, all the whales began hunting among the rocks of the Cactus Islands although it was unclear if they made any kills. The whales exited New Channel and moved closer to Johns and Stuart Islands, crossing the mouth of Reid Harbor and headed slowly west. The encounter ended at 1205 about a mile southeast of Tiptop Hill on Stuart Island with the whales alternately pointed slowly west or up Haro Strait paralleling the Stuart Island shoreline.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


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