2021 Encounters

Encounter #17 - April 9, 2021
the T90s

the T90s

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T90C and T87

T90C and T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T90B and T87

T90B and T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87

T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

the T90s

the T90s

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

the T90s

the T90s

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T90B

T90B

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87

T87

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T90D spyhop

T90D spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

inverted T90B

inverted T90B

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T90 spyhop

T90 spyhop

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87 and T90B

T87 and T90B

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T87 and T90B

T87 and T90B

©Center for Whale Research 2021

help
CAN
we
TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 09/04/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 17

ObservBegin: 10:25 AM

ObservEnd: 12:02 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 33.07

Start Longitude: 123 11.39

End Latitude: 48 37.81

End Longitude: 123 03.29

EncSummary:

Dave just missed a call from Jane Cogan around 0930 but got the message that they had heard transients earlier that morning on their hydrophone and had seen a male going south. Those whales were now milling off Lime Kiln and were last seen pointed back north. T87 was also reported to be in the mix. T87 is one of the oldest male killer whales on the coast with an estimated age of 59. He was first known from Southeast Alaska in the 1980s where he still spends part of his summers and he started becoming a regular off-season visitor to the Salish Sea in the early 2000s. Dave first encountered him nearly thirty years ago in the winter of 1992 near Race Rocks. T87 has become a well-known whale up and down the coast and it is always good to see him. Dave was heading out the door to CWR anyway so he left quickly and decided to drive the west side in case the whales headed south. The day was gray but the water from Hannah Heights to Lime Kiln actually looked fairly calm despite wind being in the forecast. Dave didn’t see anything as he drove the west side so he headed to CWR with the hopes that the whales continued north. After driving down to the house to look from the porch, Dave spotted the whales pretty much immediately after finally getting his binoculars to focus about a mile offshore but firmly on the US side of the border. Dave headed to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1015.
As soon as Dave got out into Mitchell Bay, he got a call on the radio from Tom Cogan who had the whales in sight. Andrews Bay was not nearly as calm as the waters to the south and Dave bounced his way toward where Tom was pointing him. The whales were soon spotted and the encounter began at 1025 about a mile offshore of CWR. The whales had not gone anywhere and it was obvious that they were feeding as they milled on the north part of a large slick that ran to the south. Lots of gulls circled overhead looking for scraps while Dave bounced around in the trough of 2-3 footers waiting for the whales to pick a direction. It was the T90s with T87-T90 being T87’s probable younger sister. The group finally started moving north after about 15 minutes of milling and feeding with T87 and T90B in the lead. These two were rolling around together some. T90 and T90D were slightly behind these two but were catching up. T90C briefly disappeared and may have stayed behind to continue feeding. By the time the whales had made it to Smugglers Cove, T90C had caught up to the others and she traveled with T90 and T90D while T87 and T90D were loosely spread to the inside of them. The whales picked up speed as they headed north toward Open Bay. When the whales reached the mouth of Open Bay, they slowed down and grouped up tightly abreast of one other. The whales then went on long dive that had to be at least ten minutes long before finally coming up along the rocks of the southwest tip of Kellett Bluff. They then headed north along the shoreline of Henry Island and passed between Battleship Island and McCracken Point. T87 and the T90s turned east into Spieden Channel and picked up speed again. The skies got a bit darker and the breeze was picking up so the encounter ended at 1202 off the west entrance to Roche Harbor.