UAV Encounter #19 - Oct 14, 2022
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Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388
Other Staff:Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers:Samantha Mundorff, Federica Spina
Start Latitude:48 28.51
Start Longitude:123 57.98
End Latitude:48 23.64
End Longitude:123 58.29
Michael received reports of a pair of adult male killer whales in San Juan Channel in the late morning. The team headed out at 11:19, going up over the top of San Juan Island and down the channel.
When the team arrived on scene at 12:09, T49A2 and T49C were at Harbor Rock, staying close the shoreline as they moved down island. The team launched the drone to begin aerial observation of the pair. The whales cut close to Goose Island, swimming through kelp beds. They may have been searching for potential prey items, but we didn't observe any hunts or kills.
The whales passed Cattle Point and headed south out towards Salmon Bank. The pair exhibited long down times, and their speed was very inconsistent, making it difficult to track them from the air. The two males spread out as they moved south towards some bird activity around a bait ball. While the whales again appeared to potentially be searching for prey, no kills were observed.
A bit after 13:00, the team received word that J Pod had nearly reached the bottom of Rosario Strait. The team ended their encounter with T49A2 and T49C to head to J pod at 13:21.