UAV Encounter #4 - June 26, 2023
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Other Staff:Dave Ellifrit
Other Observers:Alyssa Kelley, Federica Spina
Start Latitude:48 44.42
Start Longitude:123 05.92
End Latitude:48 41.76
End Longitude:123 13.10
The team knew that J pod was up in the Strait of Georgia at the start of the day, and waited until they heard whales were approaching East Point to head out and hopefully get some drone footage. They left the dock at 1402, and arrived on scene on the US side of Boundary south of Monarch Head at 1443.
Initially, the team found a group of three animals heading southwest in a tight formation, composed of J31, J56, and J40. After a brief pass to get photos of the group, the team launched the drone and started a focal group follow. The whales were quite active, especially J56, with lots of surface activity.
After a few minutes of following this group, another group of whales came into sight behind them, along with an adult male well off of the rest. The team moved over to the larger group, which was made up of the J37s and the J22s.
The two groups eventually met up, continuing to travel southwest and be very surface active. Eventually they were joined by J27, who had been travelling behind the group. The whales angled towards Turn Point, speeding up as they got closer to the point.
At Turn, the whales immediately split up, with most going offshore. The team followed J31 and J56 as they apparently started searching for food, but the conditions quickly deteriorated and the team called the encounter at 1619 just south of Turn Point.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388