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2022 Encounters

UAV Encounter #3 - May 11, 2022
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EncDate: 11/05/22 

Enc#: 03

ObservBegin: 10:56 AM

ObservEnd: 12:03 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

UAV ID: Columbia

Pilot: Michael Weiss

Operators: Michael Weiss, Mia Lybkær Kronborg Nielsen

Other Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: Haro Strait

Start Latitude: 48 36.730

Start Longitude: 123 11.607

End Latitude: 48 33.160

End Longitude: 123 10.730


Lodie called Michael with a secondhand repoort of killer whales outside of Roche Harbor a bit after 10:00. The team scrambled and got off the dock at Snug at 10:34. After going through Mosquito Pass and going north through the western entrance to Roche, the team scanned Spieden Channel and Battleship Island. After not seeing anything, the team headed west and south, down the outside of Henry Island.

The team found the whales along the northwest side of Henry at 10:56. The team approached to identify the animals and get ID photos (see photo encounter 22). Dave identified the group as the T124As, composed of T124A, three of her offspring (T214A4, T124A6, T124A7) and her grandoffspring T124A4A.

The whales were socializing and playing, with the youner whales being particularly active at the surface. The team quickly launched the drone and began observations. After a few minutes of socializing, the whales began to travel south.

Once the whales began travelling, they did much longer dives between surface sequences. As the whales approached Kellet Bluff, the team observed an adult Steller sea lion along the rocks. One of the young whales took a quick swipe at the sea lion, but the group did not pursue it further and kept heading south.

Once the whales passed Open Bay, they began splitting into two groups, with T124A and her younger offspring in the lead, with T124A4 and T124A4A behind. The team continued to observe the whales as they travelled south. As the team passed the Center for Whale Research, the wind and waves continued to build, and the encounter was ended due to weather.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


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