2021 Encounters

Encounter #53 - Aug 16, 2021
T19B spyhops

T19B spyhops

Photo by Michael Weiss

T18 tailslaps as the group converges on a kelp forest

T18 tailslaps as the group converges on a kelp forest

Photo by Charli Grimes

T19B rounds the north side of Discovery Island

T19B rounds the north side of Discovery Island

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19C does a high arch dive, possibly hunting seals

T19C does a high arch dive, possibly hunting seals

Photo by Michael Weiss

T19

T19

Photo by Charli Grimes

T18, kelping on the east side of Discovery Island

T18, kelping on the east side of Discovery Island

Photo by Charli Grimes

T19B

T19B

Photo by Charli Grimes

T19 and T19B, hunting the shoreline of Discovery

T19 and T19B, hunting the shoreline of Discovery

Photo by Michael Weiss

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388

Date: 16-Aug-21

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 53

Enc Start Time: 11:07

Enc End Time: 13:02

Vessel: Orcinus

Observers: Michael Weiss, Charli Grimes

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Discovery Island

Begin Lat/Long: 48 26.461 N/123 15.833 W

End Lat/Long: 48 26.704 N/123 13.347 W

 

Encounter Summary:

After reviewing the photos from their relatively brief encounter with the T18s two days previous (see encounter 52), the team was eager to try to get better photographs of this group. Around 9:00, the team received reports that the T18s were just west of Discovery Island, making their way east. The team mobilized and left the dock at 10:31, crossing Haro Strait and arriving on scene just west of Discovery Island at 11:07.

The T18s were again split into two pairs, with T19 and T19B taking the lead followed by T18 and T19C. The whales rounded the north side of the islands, following the shoreline and making their way to the eastern side of the islands. The team paralleled them for a few minutes, before breaking away as the whales went inshore of Fulford Reef. From a distance, the team observed T19 appear to make a kill of a harbor seal inside the reef.

As the whales passed the reef, the team slowly made their way inshore to get a better chance to photograph the group. The team set up to let the whales pass about 80 yards off their starboard side. The whales then went down for a several minute long dive. When next they surfaced, T19B did a spyhop very near the research vessel, followed by the other individuals, now in a single group, also passing inshore of the team. The team shut off their engine to allow the whales to pass with as little disturbance as possible. Once the whales passed, the team backed offshore to observe the whales from a greater distance.

The whales began doing high arch dives and tail slaps as they approached a kelp bed, and apparently continued to hunt seals on the shoreline. After milling around this kelp bed for several minutes, the whales made a dramatic turn offshore, and began heading north. As they headed north, the team made one more approach to get right side photographs of the whales. The team ended the encounter at 13:02 as the whales continued north in a loose group.