2022 Encounters

Encounter #64- Sept 24, 2022
G73

G73

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G99

G99

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G81

G81

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G73

G73

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G71

G71

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G73

G73

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

G71

G71

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg

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EncDate:24/09/22 

EncSeq:1

Enc#:64

ObservBegin:11:36 AM

ObservEnd:02:03 PM

Vessel:Mike 1

Staff:Mark Malleson

Other Observers:Joe Zelwietro, Amy Mahoney

Pods:Northern Resident killer whales

LocationDescr:Table Rock

Start Latitude:48 25.95

Start Longitude:125 04.93

End Latitude:48 23.79

End Longitude:125 02.42

 

EncSummary:

The Mike 1 crew departed the dock at Port Renfrew at a reasonable 0840 and made way southwest, aiming to take advantage of a great weather day offshore of Vancouver Island and the outer Washington coast. They worked in tandem with their colleagues from the Canadian DFO, and after several hydrophone drops and visual scans, were able to zero in on a large group of killer whales by 1136. There had been reports of Northern Resident killer whales in the vicinity throughout the season, including during the CWR’s western survey this week, and just after the CWR team set their eyes on the animals, they received word from the DFO team that they had just detected killer whale calls acoustically from just a few miles behind Mike 1! As Mike 1 slowly approached the large group of foraging killer whales Mark was fairly confident that these were Northern Residents.
Their assumption (later confirmed) was that the whales belonged to G clan, one of three clans that comprise the Northern Resident community; all Southern Residents belong to J clan. In contrast to their southern counterparts, Northern Residents have a somewhat fluid social structure, often leaving researchers to tally the individuals by matrilines present, not simply by clan or pod. They are also far more numerous; G clan alone contains approximately 100 animals. The CWR team were able to confirm members of five matrilines: the G2s, G3s, G27s, I33s, I35s and I68s. Not all members of each were photographed, and it is possible that only some individuals were there Saturday or that the whales were simply too dispersed throughout the area to census fully.
The animals were spread and foraging for the duration of the encounter, and quite successfully if the constant bird life diving for scraps in wakes was any indication. Contrary to Southern Resident encounters throughout the week, much of the G clan foraging seemed to be high in the water column, with short three or four minute absences from any given whale, rather than the eight to ten minute cycle that Mark and Joe had been experiencing with J clan whales throughout the week. Individuals were also closer together, and groups of three or four were not hard to find. After documenting many of the individuals present, the crew ended the encounter at 1403 and made way northeast, in an effort to locate some of the Southern Resident community!

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388