2021 Encounters

Encounter #21 - April 17, 2021
T124D1

T124D1

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D1

T124D1

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D1

T124D1

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124D

T124D

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A6

T124A6

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A6

T124A6

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A6, 124A4, T124A4A

T124A6, 124A4, T124A4A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4A

T124A4A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4, T124A4A

T124A4, T124A4A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4

T124A4

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4, T124A

T124A4, T124A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4

T124A4

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A4

T124A4

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A3A

T124A3A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A3A

T124A3A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A3A

T124A3A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A

T124A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

T124A

T124A

©Center for Whale Research 2021

©Center for Whale Research 2021

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CAN
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TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 17/04/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 21

ObservBegin: 11:50 AM

ObservEnd: 01:27 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: George Hamilton, Piper Hamilton

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Kelp Reef

Start Latitude: 48 32.1

Start Longitude: 123 15.9

End Latitude: 48 34.7

End Longitude: 123 14.7

 

EncSummary:

Mark received a call at 0835 from his spotter extraordinaire George Hamilton that there was a group of ~ eight killer whales near Seabird Point, Discovery island aiming north towards Beaumont Shoals. Mark felt that with them aiming towards San Juan Island, they would be in US waters close to when he would arrive on the scene with Mike 1 even if he got into motion immediately, so he called Dave to alert him of the sighting. Dave headed out his door almost immediately and had mobilized Orcinus out of Snug Harbour, San Juan Island, within 45 minutes. At ~ 1030, after Mark was relaying sighting information from George to Dave via cell phone, unfortunately, the whales had veered slightly west and were now well on the Canadian side of the border south of Kelp Reef, so Dave had to stand down. George could see that they were likely predating on something as they appeared to be milling, and he could see a fair bit of activity.
Mark mobilized Mike 1 at 1102 from departed the dock at Victoria harbour. He had arranged to pick George and his daughter Piper up out front of their waterfront home at Ten Mile Point, so after a quick pickup on the rocks, they arrived on the scene with the group of Biggs at 1150 ~ 1.5 NM SW of the Kelp Reef marker. Mark could see from a distance that this group was chasing a harbour porpoise. Mike 1 trolled in closer to get a better look at the predation and saw who turned out to be T124D knock the porpoise into the air. Within a few minutes of the group circled around the area where T124D made what appeared to be the final blow. They drowned it at 1155 (48 33.9/123 14.6). Sarah Burnaby on Kodiak had arrived on scene 30 minutes before Mike 1 arriving and had seen the predation going on when she arrived, likely what George had witnessed through binoculars from shore.
Mark confirmed seven individuals in the group; The T124A's with the T124D's, less T124D2.
The group continued northward against the ebb current after milling around and prey sharing for ~25 minutes before they started to travel northward against the ebb current as they slowly passed through the reefs between the Kelp Reef marker and Little Darcy Island. Several of them appeared to have a chunk of their prize in their mouth as they slowly made their way.
T124A3A lagged well behind the group, but T124A leading the way, would circle back to slow up the procession to allow him to keep up.
At ~ 1240, George and Mark could see more harbour porpoise ahead of the group, and almost instantly, T124D took chase of another one! This time the Mike 1 crew saw the predation event from start to finish. T124D1 appeared to be doing all the ramming of the harbour porpoise and put it out of its misery in short order. The start of the chase was observed at 1241 and the drowning within ~ 12 minutes later at 1253 (48 33.9/123 14.6).
After prey sharing their second harbour porpoise in the past hour, T124A pulled away, which appeared to be with purpose, well to the northwest towards the southeast corner of Sidney Island while the others meandered along in her path and shared the last of their most recent prize.
Mike 1 decided to make their way up to T124A to confirm that she wouldn't meet other Bigg's associates that may have been rendezvousing with them.
With no sign of any other individuals on the horizon, Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1327.