2021 Encounters

Encounter #49 - Aug 8, 2021
T99 with T99B

T99 with T99B

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

T99B and T99D

T99B and T99D

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

T99C

T99C

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

T99

T99

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

T99s

T99s

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

T99s

T99s

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 08-Aug-21

Encounter Number: 49

Enc Start Time: 13:37

Enc End Time: 16:00

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Michael Weiss, Charli Grimes

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Waldron Island

Begin Lat/Long: 48 36.105 N/123 02.365 W

End Lat/Long: 48 43.099 N/ 123 04.114 W

 

Encounter Summary:

In the late morning, Michael had heard reports of several groups of Bigg's killer whales throughout the study area. Michael coordinated with the UW scat project to head out and try to document at least a few of these groups, while also collecting behavioral data from the drone and potentially finding scat samples for the UW project.

Michael and Charli left the dock at 13:03, and arrived on scene with the T99 matriline in North Pass as they made their way to the west side of Jones Island. The team first made a couple brief photo ID passes to document the current looks of the group, as they hadn't been photographed by the CWR in several months. Soon, the UW research vessel Moja arrived on scene, and Michael and Charli launched the drone to record behavioral data and search for scat samples.
The whales made their way due north towards Waldron Island, making fairly good speed. The whales stayed in a single tight group, and engaged in occasional social contact as they made their way towards Cowlitz Bay. Around 15:00, the group tucked way into the bay and slowed down considerably, taking a moment to rest and socialize before continuing on their way.

After exiting the bay, the whales split into two groups, with T99 and her youngest offspring T99D travelling a ways away from T99B and T99C. The team stayed with the group as they made their way north into Boundary Pass, however as the team can't fly their drone in Canadian airspace, they decided to leave the group before they got to the border, and at 16:00 left the scene to head south in search of another group of whales that had been reported nearby (see Encounter 50).