2022 Encounters

Encounter #41- July 23, 2022
T060C

T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060, T060G

T060, T060G

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060, T060F

T060, T060F

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060G, T060C

T060G, T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060F_T060

T060F_T060

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060C

T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060C

T060C

T060C

T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060C

T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T060C

T060C

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg

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EncDate:23/07/22 

EncSeq:1

Enc#:41

ObservBegin:08:35 AM

ObservEnd:09:56 PM

Vessel:Mike 1

Staff:Mark Malleson

Other Observers:Joe Zelwietro

Pods:Transients

LocationDescr:William Head

Start Latitude:48 21.55

Start Longitude:123 30.82

End Latitude:48 18.57

End Longitude:123 33.25

 

EncSummary:

Early Saturday morning, the Victoria pilot boat encounered some westbound killer whales off Brotchie Ledge, at the mouth of Victoria Harbour. Mark and Joe got word and departed Victoria on Mike 1 at 0805 to follow up. They had just passed the Haystock Islets, when a large bull surfaced a mile ahead. They reached the T060s at 0835 as they travelled restfully south-southwest in Parry Bay.
The Bigg’s were approaching Quarantine Cove when they began to increase their pace and deked left for the kelp beds along the shores of William Head Penitentiary. Several minutes of frenzied activity followed, and it was clear that several simultaneous attempts were made at seals in the shallows. The whales moved quickly on to the next small cove and worked their way into the north side of Pedder Bay like that for the next 30 minutes. Young T060G was particularly energetic and T060C’s large dorsal fin was kelp-laden on nearly every surfacing. The animals eventually moved off to the middle of Pedder Bay to share the spoils.
Only one prey-sharing event was observed to this point, though it seemed likely that at least one additional pinniped had fallen victim to the morning feeding by the time the Bigg’s rounded Cape Calver and left Pedder Bay. As the four moved on toward the south end of Vancouver Island, it was unclear whether they would cut through Eemdyk Pass, or round Bentinck Island to the south as many matrilines do. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given their morning antics, the group cruised quickly into the narrow – and very shallow, as the tide had just begun to rise – channel and resumed hunting. Several more seals were corralled out of the kelp beds, and the water was low enough that the 21-year-old bull could not fully submerge; the top half of his dorsal fin was visible for nearly 200 metres of transit across the shallow bottom. He nabbed one more seal with his mother and younger siblings as they exited the pass into deeper water.
As the animals reentered the Juan de Fuca, they briefly prey-shared in the company of three Caspian terns before a spyhop from T060 declared it was time to move along, and they continued around Christopher Point and west along the Vancouver Island shore. Mark and Joe ended the encounter there at 0956 and returned to Victoria.
Note: Brothers T060D and T060E were not present, and have been seen with the group only sparingly in the years since dispersing in August 2019, just prior to the birth of T060G. Late afternoon reports from commercial whale-watchers placed the whales reaching Jordan River, BC by 1700, over 20 nautical miles from where Mark and Joe had left them.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388