UAV Encounter #8 - Aug 14, 2023
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Other Observers:Darren Croft, Alyssa Kelley
Start Latitude:48 28.82
Start Longitude:122 47.86
End Latitude:48 31.66
End Longitude:122 43.24
After leaving the T137s in Haro (see Encounter 40), the team headed towards Rosario Strait to catch up with the T18s. The team finally found them outside the entrance to Lopez Pass. The whales were split into pairs, both hunting seals. While T18 and T19C worked on catching a seal a bit further inshore, the team saw T19 chase a seal up to the surface before the T19B made the kill further inshore.
The team watched as T19B and T19 passed the seal back and forth for a while without processing the prey. T18 and T19C moved over to investigate, but quickly located another seal to pursue. They appeared to have the seal pinned on the bottom for a while before the seal made a break for it and swam for the shoreline. The two whales pursued and finally forced the seal to the surface. T19C took a swing at it with his fluke, mostly missing but disorienting the seal. After a couple more circles, T19C grabbed the disoriented seal and made the kill.
After making this second kill, the whales started processing and sharing their prey. After spending a few minutes eating, the whales continued on their way north up the strait. The whales put on quite a bit of speed as they rounded James Island, then took a left into Thatcher Pass. The team ended their encounter at 16:56 near the eastern entrance of Thatcher as the whales headed west.
Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388