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2022 Encounters

UAV Encounter #4 - May 13, 2022
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EncDate: 13/05/22 

Enc#: 04

PhotoEnc#: 23

ObservBegin: 12:27 PM

ObservEnd: 02:20 PM

Vessel: Orcinus

UAV ID: Columbia

Pilot: Michael Weiss

Operators: Michael Weiss

Other Staff: Dave Ellifrit

Other Observers: Mia Lybkær Kronborg Nielsen

Pods: Transients

LocationDescr: San Juan Channel

Start Latitude: 48 32.42

Start Longitude:1 23 58.10

End Latitude: 48 29.84

End Longitude: 123 57.82


The team received multiple reports of a small group of whales with multiple adult males headed down San Juan Channel. Dave, Michael, and Mia left the dock at 11:47 and arrived on scene with T87 and T124C at 12:27 off Turn Island. The pair of males was taking fairly long down times and somewhat unpredictable movements.

After a photo ID pass, the team launched the drone and began behavioural observations, particularly interested in what the social dynamics between these two unrelated adult males might be. The team did three flights, and although visibility was not ideal, managed to get some footage of the two makes socially interacting, however this was intermittent.

As the whales made their way down towards Cattle Pass, the team ended their encounter at 14:20 and headed back towards the dock.

Photos taken under Federal Permits


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