2021 Encounters

Encounter #50 - Aug 9, 2021
T37A2

T37A2

Photo by Michael Weiss

T37A

T37A

Photo by Michael Weiss

T37A4 eyepatch

T37A4 eyepatch

Photo by Charli Grimes

T37A5 eyepatch

T37A5 eyepatch

Photo by Michael Weiss

T37A5 and T37A4

T37A5 and T37A4

Photo by Charli Grimes

T37A5 with T37A3 and T37A

T37A5 with T37A3 and T37A

Photo by Charli Grimes

T37A3, T37A, T37A4, and T37A2

T37A3, T37A, T37A4, and T37A2

Photo by Charli Grimes

T37As

T37As

Photo by Michael Weiss

T37A2

T37A2

Photo by Charli Grimes

help
CAN
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TOGETHER

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 09-Aug-21

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 50

Enc Start Time: 16:20

Enc End Time: 17:56

Vessel: Orca

Observers: Michael Weiss, Charli Grimes

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: President Channel

Begin Lat/Long: 48 37.788 N/123 03.283 W

End Lat/Long: 48 43.672 N/123 00.081 W

 

Encounter Summary:

After leaving the T99s (see encounter 49), Michael and Charli, along with the UW research vessel Moja, headed south towards Jones Island to search for the T37As, who had been reported earlier in the day further east and had slowly made their way west.

The team arrived on scene about a half mile north of Jones Island at 16:20. The whole matriline was in a single tight group, very slowly making their way north in a resting pattern. Michael brought Orcinus in for a left side photo ID pass on the group, who were extremely cooperative and relaxed. After documenting the group photographically, the team backed out and prepared to launch the drone for behavioral observations and scat collection.

The whales continued their slow movement northeast into President Channel, staying fairly close to the Orcas shoreline. Uncharacteristically for transients, the group stayed close to the surface between their surfacing intervals, allowing for long, continuous follows using the drone. A bit after 17:00, the whales crossed the Channel to the Waldron Island side, and began heading due north.

While the water was nearly flat calm, the combination of glassy water and overcast skies made it difficult to observe the whales underwater from the drone, and even more difficult to potentially catch any scat samples that may appear. The team ended drone operations at 17:35, but decided to try for one more photo ID pass before heading home.

The team slowly caught up with the whales and got into position. The whales had begun to exhibit very long dives between surfacing sequences, so determining exactly where they’d come up next was a challenge. Luckily, the whales surfaced about 80 yards off Orcinus’s bow, allowing the team to ooze into position for one last photo ID pass as the light began to fade. After getting some right side photos to go along with the lefts from the start of the encounter, the team left the scene at 17:56 and headed back to the dock at Snug.