2021 Encounters

Encounter #90 - Dec 23, 2021


Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research



Copyright © 2021 Center for Whale Research

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 6.38.05 AM.png
Watch the water rise as DONATIONS come in. Please help us reach our goal of $74,000!  

EncDate: 23/12/21

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 90

ObservBegin: 02:03 PM

ObservEnd: 02:32 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro, Eric Eisenhardt

Pods: Transients

IDsEncountered:  T251

LocationDescr: Victor Foxtrot

Start Latitude:48 14.07

Start Longitude:123 33.72

End Latitude:48 14.54

End Longitude:123 36.10


Mark and Joe were looking to squeak in an encounter before the stormy weather arrived on the south Island, and were joined by colleague and friend Eric for the day. The trio (and Fin made four) departed Victoria at 1100 and made way for Race Rocks. After observing one of the largest elephant seals any of them had seen, and sharing each others pinniped facts, they continued on to the Juan de Fuca in search of more. An exhaustive search to Sheringham Point and back yielded just a pair of humpbacks and the three were ready to pack it in and head for Victoria when Mark received a call from George Hamilton with perhaps the find of the year.
George was at home in Victoria checking out a few sea lions on the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve webcam when he noticed a weather clearing off to the south of the park and decided to adjust the camera angle. He quickly spotted what he thought was a killer whale well south of the park, and called the guys on Mike 1. About seven minutes later they finally spotted what George had, and slowed to find a lone killer whale roughly 3.5 miles south of the webcam position at Race Rocks! Incredible. They began the encounter at 1403 just northwest of the VF buoy with a solitary T251, as the crew got one beautiful breathing cycle from him before a long dive and direction change. The animal was possibly travelling solo, as none of his immediate kin were spotted. The Mike 1 crew departed his vicinity as he zig-zagged west and spent 15-20 minutes searching for the rest of the gang, to no avail. When observed in the Juan de Fuca in October, T251 was observed several times travelling over two nautical miles from the remainder of his matriline (T252, T253 and T253A), so it cannot be ruled out that they were also in the area. They ended the encounter just west of where they began, at 1522, and headed for home.

Photos taken under Federal Permits