2021 Encounters

Encounter #85 - Oct 29, 2021
L109, L118, L55, L86, L106, L87

L109, L118, L55, L86, L106, L87

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

L125, L118

L125, L118

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K27

K27

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Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

L109, L118, L55, L86

L109, L118, L55, L86

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

L105

L105

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K44, K20

K44, K20

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K35

K35

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K34, K27, K44

K34, K27, K44

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K27, K34

K27, K34

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K20, K44, K38

K20, K44, K38

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

K20, K38, K44

K20, K38, K44

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

K16

K16

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

J47, L87

J47, L87

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J42

J42

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J38

J38

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J37, J49, J41, J58

J37, J49, J41, J58

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

J36

J36

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J31, J39, J56, J27

J31, J39, J56, J27

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J27

J27

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J26

J26

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J19, J39, J51

J19, J39, J51

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Mark Malleson and Fin

Mark Malleson and Fin

Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

J58_20201222JAZ_JF1 (5).jpg
help
CAN
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TOGETHER

EncDate: 29/10/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 85

ObservBegin: 04:22 PM

ObservEnd: 06:06 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro

Pods: J, K, L

LocationDescr: Race Rocks

Start Latitude: 48 19.56

Start Longitude: 123 27.76

End Latitude: 48 18.07

End Longitude: 123 33.84

EncSummary:

Late in the afternoon, Mark and Joe received duelling reports of a large group of killer whales southwest of Constance Bank. One report suggested eastbound whales with open saddle patches, while the other just stated “many whales” westbound. Both suggested Southern Residents, so they met at Mike 1 and departed Victoria just before 1600 to see what they could find.
At 1615 they began seeing a large spread of killer whales travelling west across the traffic lanes to the south of Victoria, apparently headed for Race Rocks. They began the encounter at 1622 at 48 ° 19.56 ’ N / 123 ° 27.76 ’ W with several members of the J16 matriline. Siblings J26 and J36 were among the first whales photographed, confirming that at least those members of J pod most recently observed travelling down Boundary Pass into Haro Strait (see Encounter #84) were likely present. The J22s and J37s were nearby, associating with several other animals. Those extras proved to be the bulk of the L47 and L55 matrilines! On queue, K35 burst out of the deep on the other side of Mike 1 and her crew realized they were viewing a majority of the clan, together in the inside waters for the first time since mid-September. K16 surfaced alongside J19, the remaining K13s and K14, and near the L72s, L87 and J47. After confirming the whales present in this loose concentration, the Mike 1 crew made their way southwest toward a number of animals that were now west of Rosedale Rock, to the southwest of Race Rocks.
These animals proved to be the missing K pod whales, the K12s. They were also westbound, but stalled as Mike1 passed them, before angling north to meet the bulk of the whales now transiting through the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area. After documenting K26, the westernmost animal they observed, Mark and Joe dropped back to just west of Race Rocks and waited for the animals to clear the park bounds. They watched as roughly 30 whales circled and socialized off West Race Rocks before lining up and diving facing west. When they resurfaced, the whales were arranged in their respective pods; the 20 Ls - including the youngest Southern Resident, L125 - were leading the 24 Js by roughly 400 metres. The K12s had vanished, and presumably joined the large aggregation roughly one nautical mile to the west-southwest.
Mark and Joe captured a sequence of left-side ID photos of each of the two eastern groups, as they had to this point only been working through spread animals and documented perhaps half of the whales present, before ending the encounter off Christopher Point at 1806 at 48° 18.07 ’ N / 123° 33.84 ’ W, with all of the animals heading west. No members of the L12 or L54 matrilines were observed, nor were any of their constant companions, the L22s, L25 and L88. Mark and Joe concluded that all members of J and K pods were present, along with the twenty members of L pod more commonly found in the inside waters in recent years, for a total of 60 whales!

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388