2022 Encounters

Encounter #8 - Jan 24, 2022
T124D3, T071B

T124D3, T071B

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T071, T071E, T071B

T071, T071E, T071B

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T124D, T124D3

T124D, T124D3

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T124D, T124D1

T124D, T124D1

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T124A1, T071E, T071, T086A3_20220124

T124A1, T071E, T071, T086A3_20220124

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T124A1

T124A1

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T117A

T117A

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T117A

T117A

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T086A3

T086A3

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T086A1, T124D3, T124D

T086A1, T124D3, T124D

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T071

T071

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

T086A1fresh rakes

T086A1fresh rakes

Copyright © 2022 Center for Whale Research

20210930KMJ_SJ1_3.jpg
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EncDate: 24/01/22 

EncSeq: 1

Enc#: 08

ObservBegin: 10:12 AM

ObservEnd: 10:48 AM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro, Brian Gisborne

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Discovery Island

Start Latitude: 48 24.99

Start Longitude: 123 13.14

End Latitude: 48 26.26

End Longitude: 123 12.85

EncSummary:

Mark received a call from his colleague Brian Gisborne at 0850 with a report of several killer whales traveling quickly east south west of Clover Point.
Mark called Joe to prep Mike 1 and they departed Victoria harbor at ~ 0940 after picking up Brian at Fisherman’s Wharf. They proceeded to the traffic lanes south of Sea Bird Point, Discovery Island and stopped for a scan. They were preparing to continue the search when Mark spotted a series of dorsal fins just to the east. The encounter began at 1012 with a large group of Bigg’s killer whales travelling quickly into Haro Strait.
The whales dove as the Mike 1 crew slowed and when they resurfaced, Joe quickly recognized the trailing animal as T117A, a wandering bull last seen by CWR staff in late 2019 in the western reaches of the Juan de Fuca Strait (see Encounter #99, 2019). The others remained a momentary mystery, though by the time the whales next dove the trio had identified members of the T086A and T124D matrilines, along with T124A1. A quick reference to the DFO Bigg’s catalogue then confirmed their suspicion that the remaining animals were the entirety of the T071 matriline, a rarely encountered group in the Salish Sea! T124D was also travelling with a young calf, which would be her third known offspring of the 25-year-old matriarch.
The whales were travelling steadily north-northeast, seemingly disinterested in the large bull sea lions sitting atop Brinn Rock off the south end of Discovery Island, but quickly zigged to the east and porpoised for a minute or so before slowing. Brian keenly noticed that one of the females was travelling with prey in her jaw, and it is possible that this is what caught the whales’ attention and caused their change in travel direction. No prey sharing was observed, and the whales continued into Haro Strait, while the Mike 1 crew ended the encounter and headed for the warmth of Victoria.
Note: later reports from a commercial whale-watcher put the whales northbound off Sidney Island by 1400, still travelling north in the Canadian waters of Haro Strait.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388