2021 Encounters

Encounter #44 - June 24, 2021
T49C

T49C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T49C

T49C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T49C

T49C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the T36s

the T36s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T128

T128

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T77C

T77C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T36B3 playing

T36B3 playing

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

tail wave

tail wave

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

spyhop

spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

help
CAN
we
TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

EncDate: 24/06/21

EncSeq: 2

Enc#: 44

ObservBegin: 01:55 PM

ObservEnd: 04:10 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

Staff: Dave Ellifrit, Michael Weiss

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Hein Bank

Start Latitude: 48 21.86

Start Longitude: 123 03.31

End Latitude: 48 22.87

End Longitude: 122 59.55

EncSummary:

Michael and Dave were working in CWR’s photo-ID office while keeping tabs on reports of a group of Bigg’s killer whales found near Eastern Bank heading north toward Hein Bank. The whales sounded like they were going to stay on the U.S. side of the border so we headed down to Snug Harbor and left in the boat at 1310. We arrived on scene about a mile southwest of the north buoy of Hein Bank at 1355. A group that included T36, T36B, T36B3, T77C, and T125A were milling and socializing with each other and were not really going anywhere. Another group including T128 was about three quarters of a mile to the southwest of these whales. We got some photos of the first group including a shot of T77's odd looking wound that seems to be healing. We then started heading toward the other group but they turned north and started to charge back toward the first group before we could get there. All nine whales present were then in one loose socializing group pointed slowly north toward Salmon Bank.
We made sure we had a proof of presence of all the whales in the group before we backed off some so Michael could launch his drone for his social behavior study. Since the whales weren’t moving fast at all and also weren’t going on long dives, Michael got a full battery’s worth of video on the first flight. We then recovered the drone, got a few more photos, and then Michael got another long flight in while the whales continued to travel very slowly north. A little while earlier, T49C had been found at the bottom of Rosario Strait and he was now reported to have been heading west along the Lopez Island shoreline. At one point, all the whales in the group we were with made a turn to the east and it appeared like they must have heard T49C say something. We thought he might show up and join the group but they soon pointed back north toward Salmon Bank. We left the group around 1510 about one mile southwest of the Salmon Bank Buoy to go in search of T49C. We headed inshore toward Long Island before looking through the binocs and finding the boats who were with T49C a good two miles to the south of us. We took off in that direction and got to T49C around 1535 as he was charging west near MacArthur Bank. T49C continued fast traveling westerly on a line that would take him north of Hein Bank and in the direction of Constance Bank. T49C was cooperative and maintaining a straight line while he was up for his short dives. We ended the encounter at 1610 approximately a mile north of the north buoy at Hein Bank.
Another group of transients had been found just north of CWR so we decided to see if we could get them on the way home. The larger group had headed north toward Cattle Pass and Whale Rock before heading up San Juan Channel. Due to poor cell phone service, we did not get the message that Mark had had an encounter with the T65Bs and T75Cs earlier in the day. These were the whales that had hit the west side of San Juan Island earlier and had headed up island. We got on scene with the T65Bs and T75Cs off the north end of Henry Island and had a brief encounter with them near Battleship Island as they headed slowly north. Mark showed up a little later in a yellow boat and we realized our encounter mix up after talking on the radio. We decided to lump our encounter in with Mark’s encounter 43 since he had the last look at them that day anyway. Right before we left the T65Bs and T75Cs, we heard that a pair of humpbacks were seen heading north off Lime Kiln. We headed back home toward Snug Harbor and found the humpbacks off Kellett Bluff. It was a mother and calf pair and they were traveling slowly north with no fluking. The adult whale looked really skinny and we hoped this was because she was still nursing.