2021 Encounters

Encounter #47 - Aug 6, 2021
T77D

T77D

Photo by Charli Grimes

T49A2

T49A2

Photo by Charli Grimes

T77D

T77D

Photo by Charli Grimes

T77C and T77D kelping

T77C and T77D kelping

Photo by Charli Grimes

T77C

T77C

Photo by Charli Grimes

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

Date:06-Aug-21

Sequence:1

Encounter Number:47

Enc Start Time:13:23

Enc End Time:14:30

Vessel:Orcinus

Observers: Michael Weiss, Charli Grimes, Nikhela Motha de Silva, Minola Motha de Silva

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Ripple Island

Begin Lat/Long: 48 39.21 N/123 07.36 W

End Lat/Long:48 39.16 N/123 07.28 W

 

Encounter Summary:

In the late morning, Michael heard a report of a small group of Bigg's killer whales, initially reported as the T37As, in the Cactus Islands north of Spieden in fairly good conditions. At 12:53, Michael, Charli, Nikhela, and Minola left Snug Harbor in Orcinus and headed to the Cactus Islands, arriving on scene at 13:23.

When the team arrived on scene, the whales were hugging the shoreline of Ripple Island, apparently hunting and socializing. After a few looks, it became clear that these where not the T37As, but were in fact a group of three immature whales, T77C, T77D, and T49A2.

As the whales were close to shore, the team was not initially able to get close for good photo ID passes. Instead, they launched their research drone for a flight. However, as Ripple Island is a nature reserve, the team could not approach closely with the drone, and filmed from a distance. The team did observe some sociosexual behavior as the whales circled the island.

After a few laps around the island and a drone flight, the team obtained some useful images of the group. T77C's wound on his left side, which was first observed in June, is almost completely healed, leaving only a small indent where the wound used to be.

The team stayed with the whales for only a brief time, leaving the scene at 14:30 as reports of a second larger group of whales in San Juan Channel came through over the radio (see Encounter 48). As the team left, the whales crossed New Channel, ending their laps of Ripple Island to head towards the Cactus Islands.