2022 Encounters

Encounter #3 - Jan 16, 2022
T041A3, T041A, T041A2, T030_T030C

T041A3, T041A, T041A2, T030_T030C

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T041A3

T041A3

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T041A3

T041A3

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T041A2

T041A2

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T041A, T041A2

T041A, T041A2

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T041, T030

T041, T030

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T041

T041

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T030C, T041, T041A

T030C, T041, T041A

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T030C

T030C

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T030A

T030A

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T030A

T030A

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T030, T041A

T030, T041A

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T030

T030

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T030

T030

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T030

T030

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T030

T030

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

spyhop

spyhop

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg
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EncDate: 16/01/22 

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 3

ObservBegin: 11:52 AM

ObservEnd: 02:05 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro, George Hamilton

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Otter Point

Start Latitude: 48 18.8

Start Longitude: 123 49.7

End Latitude: 48 19.1

End Longitude: 123 46.8

EncSummary:

Mark, Joe and George met at Mike 1 and departed Victoria on Mike 1 just before 1000, heading west. Visibility was improving after a day and a half of thick fog in the region, and there was little breeze forecasted. At approximately 1145 the trio stopped for a scan just south of Otter Point and in the calm seas Joe was able to spot a tight group of killer whales roughly a mile to the west of the boat!
They began the encounter at 1152 and slowly approached several killer whales clearly in the midst of a sea lion predation. The animals were quickly identified as members of the T030 and T041 matrilines, not an uncommon association. The T030s are not as common as they once were in the inside waters of the Salish Sea, and have not been seen in the Juan de Fuca Strait for quite some time, though the T041s are relatively common in the western and central portions of the Strait in late summer each year.
The animals pursued the young Steller sealion for a few hundred meters before corralling it and commencing the physical portion of the hunt. T041 and T030A moved off to the periphery of the fray while T030 and T041A took their offspring through the motions. T041A3 in particular seemed to remain engaged with the Steller while the other four would circle away before returning to deliver a few blows, then repeat the cycle. This continued for quite some time, before T030A and T041 seemingly ran out of patience and closed their gap to the others. At 1302 the animals then finally took the sea lion into the depths, over one hour after the encounter had begun, and the crew determined that they had successfully drowned their prey. It was unclear how long the hunt had been going on before the whales were detected by the Mike 1 crew, but it is thought that the average sea lion hunt lasts roughly 45 minutes!
The prey sharing began with T030 surfacing with the sea lion carcass clenched in her jaw, and was rather mellow from then on. The animals were surfacing slowly and in various directions, making little way east in the current, and seemed to divide the spoils evenly as several members of the group were observed surfacing with scraps of flesh in their mouths. The animals eventually moved on, travelling east toward Race Rocks, and the crew ended the encounter at 1405 and headed east for Victoria.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388