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2023/24 Research

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Orca Survey & Aerial Observation

An Encounter refers to any time we observe killer whales (orcas), from one of our research boats or land, where at least one individual is identified and photographed. Typically, 2-4 staff are involved in an encounter. Once we come into contact with whales (ie. within distance of identifying individuals by sight) we have begun our encounter. During an encounter, our main goal is to photograph every individual present from both the left and right side.   

ORCA SURVEY
AERIAL OBSERVATION (Drone)
Stay tuned ...
2024 Aerial Observation Encounters coming soon!
Orca Survey
Enc # • Date • Pods

2023 Encounters

« #79 • 21-Dec • Transients - south of Otter Point

« #78 • 21-Dec • J Pod - Race Rocks

« #77 • 19-Dec • K, L Pod - Sheringham Point

« #76 • 19-Dec • Transients - East Sooke Park

« #75 • 17-Dec • L Pod - SW of Constance Bank

« #74 • 15-Dec • Transients - south of Constance Bank

« #73 • 12-Dec • K Pod - Victor Golf

« #72 • 10-Dec • Transients - south of Jordan River/mid strait

« #71 • 29-Nov • Transients - south of Sheringham Point

« #70 • 13-Nov • Transients - Haro Strait / lower Boundary Pass

« #69 • 09-Nov • SRKW - South of Constance Bank

« #68 • 03-Nov • Biggs (Transient) - Coyote Bank

« #67 • 18-Oct • J,K, L Pod - Rosario Strait and eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca

« #66 • 07-Oct • Transients - S. of Victoria BC

« #65 • 06-Oct • Transients - Haro Strait

« #64 • 04-Oct • Transients - Haro Strait/Spieden Channel

« #63 • 01-Oct • Transients - South of Otter Point

« #62 • 30-Sept • Transients - Crescent Bay

« #61 • 30-Sept • Transients - Bentick Island/Race Passage

« #60 • 30-Sept • Transients - West of Constance Bank

« #59 • 23-Sept • Transients - Victoria Harbour

« #58 • 23-Sept • Transients - Victoria waterfront

« #57 • 23-Sept • Transients - Sooke

« #56 • 22-Sept • Transients - Spieden Channel/Flat Top

« #55 • 21-Sept • Transients - Becher Bay

« #54 • 21-Sept  Transients - Strait of Juan de Fuca

« #53 • 17-Sept • Transients - Church Rock

« #52 • 17-Sept  K Pod - Haro Strait

« #51 • 14-Sept • J Pod - Haro Strait

« #50 • 11-Sept  J Pod - Haro Strait

« #49 • 09-Sept  J Pod - Haro Strait

« #48 • 06-Sept  Transients - Griffin Bay/Haro Strait

« #47 • 31-Aug  Transients - Spieden Channel/Haro Strait

« #46 • 24-Aug  Transients - Cordova Bay

« #45 • 19-Aug  L Pod - Haro Strait

« #44 • 17-Aug  J, K, L Pod - Whirl Bay

« #43 • 16-Aug  Transients - Henry Island

« #42 • 15-Aug • Transients - Haro Strait

« #41 • 14-Aug • Transients - Rosario Strait

« #40 • 14-Aug • Transients - Haro Strait

« #39 • 31-July Transients - Rosario Strait

« #38 • 27-July Transients - Haro Strait

« #37 • 08-July-2023 • J, K, L  Pod - Table Rock

« #36 • 07-July-2023 • J, K, L  Pod - Table Rock

« #35 • 06-July-2023 • L  Pod - Nitinat/Clo-oose Grounds

« #34 • 04-July-2023 • J, L  Pod - Haro Strait

« #33 • 03-July-2023 • L  Pod - San Juan Island

« #32 • 01-July-2023 • J, L  Pod - Boundary Pass

« #31 • 30-June-2023 • J, L Pod - Southern Strait of Georgia

« #30 • 26-June-2023 • J Pod - Boundary Pass

« #29 • 25-June-2023 • J Pod - Strait of Juan de Fuca

« #28 • 22-June-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Haro Strait

« #27 • 14-June-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Spieden Channel

« #26 • 13-June-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Haro Strait

« #25 • 10-June-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Victoria waterfront

« #24 • 10-June-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Race Rocks

« #23 • 31-May-2023 • J Pod - Haro Strait

« #22 • 25-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Haro Strait

« #21 • 17-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Haro Strait

« #20 • 10-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - San Juan Channel and Middle Channel

« #19 • 06-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Oak Bay

« #18 • 06-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Middle Bank

« #17 • 06-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Kelp Reef

« #16 • 02-May-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Rosario Strait

« #15 • 29-Apr-2023 • J Pod - San Juan Channel

« #14 • 08-Apr-2023 • J, L Pod - East Sooke

« #13 • 25-Mar-2023 • J Pod - Haro Strait

« #12 • 23-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Boundary Pass

« #11 • 22-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Victoria waterfront

« #10 • 21-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Sidney Channel

« #9 • 13-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Ten Mile Point

« #8 • 08-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Boundary Pass

« #7 • 03-Mar-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Chain Islands

« #6 • 28-Feb-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - San Juan Channel

« #5 • 21-Feb-2023 • J Pod - Boundary Pass

« #4 • 19-Feb-2023 • J Pod - San Juan Channel

« #3 • 11-Feb-2023 • J Pod - Strait of Georgia

« #2 • 16-Jan-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Victoria waterfront

« #1 • 13-Jan-2023 • Bigg's (Transients) - Trial lsland

2023 BEST of the BEST 

Photo Gallery
By CWR Researchers, Students, and Interns

Our 2023 BEST of the Best Photo Gallery includes are forty-eight (48) of the best photographs taken by the Center for Whale Research’s on-the-water research staff, students, and interns during the year, in addition to the left- and right-side Orca IDENTIFICATION shots captured of the Southern Resident and Bigg's orcas seen in the Salish Sea.

We hope you enjoy your browse through these images. 

All photographs were taken under NMFS permit #21238/27038 and DFO SARA 388.

K35 and K16 (OS Encounter #36 / July 7, 2023)

K35 and K16 (OS Encounter #36 / July 7, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J40 Breach (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

J40 Breach (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Michael Weiss · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T137 Tossing a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #68 / November 3, 2023)

T137 Tossing a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #68 / November 3, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Orcas surfacing (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

Orcas surfacing (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

Photograph by Katie Jones · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T19C Tail Swipe at a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #41 / August 14, 2023)

T19C Tail Swipe at a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #41 / August 14, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Darren Croft · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L119 Spyhop (OS Encounter #31 / June 30, 2023)

L119 Spyhop (OS Encounter #31 / June 30, 2023)

Photograph by Rachel John · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L126 with L119 (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

L126 with L119 (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

Photograph by Federica Spina · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Southern Resident orcas (OS Encounter #67 / October 18, 2023)

Southern Resident orcas (OS Encounter #67 / October 18, 2023)

Photograph by Molly Henling · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Smilin' Face (OS Encounter # 16 / May 2, 2023)

Smilin' Face (OS Encounter # 16 / May 2, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T137A Tail Lob (OS Encounter #68 / November 3, 2023)

T137A Tail Lob (OS Encounter #68 / November 3, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T124A7 Showing its teeth (OS Encounter #27 / June 14, 2023)

T124A7 Showing its teeth (OS Encounter #27 / June 14, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Bigg's orcas against mountain backdrop (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

Bigg's orcas against mountain backdrop (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

Photograph by Katie Jones · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L113 (UAV Encounter #6 / July 3, 2023)

L113 (UAV Encounter #6 / July 3, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Michael Weiss · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L83 Spyhop (OS Encounter #14 / April 8, 2023)

L83 Spyhop (OS Encounter #14 / April 8, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J42 Breach (OS Encounter #78 / December 21, 2023)

J42 Breach (OS Encounter #78 / December 21, 2023)

Photograph by Brendon Bissonnette · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L54 Chasing a salmon (OS Encounter #35 / July 6, 2023)

L54 Chasing a salmon (OS Encounter #35 / July 6, 2023)

Photograph by Joe Zelwietro · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

SRKW Pec Slap (OS Encounter #5 / February 21, 2023)

SRKW Pec Slap (OS Encounter #5 / February 21, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Breach (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

Breach (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J59 and J37 (OS Encounter #3 / February 11, 2023)

J59 and J37 (OS Encounter #3 / February 11, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Michael Weiss · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J45 Flukes (OS Encounter #4 / February 19, 2023)

J45 Flukes (OS Encounter #4 / February 19, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T60G Spyhop (OS Encounter #7 / March 3, 2023)

T60G Spyhop (OS Encounter #7 / March 3, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T124A4A Breach (OS Encounter # 16 / May 2, 2023)

T124A4A Breach (OS Encounter # 16 / May 2, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Three Faces (OS Encounter #8 / March 8, 2023)

Three Faces (OS Encounter #8 / March 8, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T36A5 (OS Encounter #43 / August 16, 2023)

T36A5 (OS Encounter #43 / August 16, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Darren Croft · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T46B1A Nose to Nose with a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #63 / October 1, 2023)

T46B1A Nose to Nose with a Harbor seal (OS Encounter #63 / October 1, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T63 Blow (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

T63 Blow (OS Encounter #20 / May 10, 2023)

Photograph by Katie Jones · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Double Spyhop (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

Double Spyhop (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L127 and L94 (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

L127 and L94 (OS Encounter #44 / August 17, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T36A1A’s Rostrum (OS Encounter #46 / August 24, 2023)

T36A1A’s Rostrum (OS Encounter #46 / August 24, 2023)

Photograph by Rachel John · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Spyhop (OS Encounter #47 / August 31, 2023)

Spyhop (OS Encounter #47 / August 31, 2023)

Photograph by Molly Henling · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Spyhop (OS Encounter #50 / September 11, 2023)

Spyhop (OS Encounter #50 / September 11, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T109E abd T60F (OS Encounter #53 / September 17, 2023)

T109E abd T60F (OS Encounter #53 / September 17, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T60F with Harbor seal (OS Encounter #53 / September 17, 2023)

T60F with Harbor seal (OS Encounter #53 / September 17, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J31 Spyhop (OS Encounter #78 / December 21, 2023)

J31 Spyhop (OS Encounter #78 / December 21, 2023)

Photograph by Brendon Bissonnette · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L126: A male (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

L126: A male (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

Photograph by Sara Hysong-Shimazu · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T68Cs and Humpback (OS Encounter #70 / November 13, 2023)

T68Cs and Humpback (OS Encounter #70 / November 13, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T038A Cartwheel (OS Encounter #66 / October 7, 2023)

T038A Cartwheel (OS Encounter #66 / October 7, 2023)

Photograph by Brendon Bissonnette · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Bigg's orca Tail Lob (OS Encounter #66 / October 7, 2023)

Bigg's orca Tail Lob (OS Encounter #66 / October 7, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T46B6, T46B7, T46B, and T046B4 (OS Encounter #63 / October 1, 2023)

T46B6, T46B7, T46B, and T046B4 (OS Encounter #63 / October 1, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L127: A female (UAV Encounter #6 / July 3, 2023)

L127: A female (UAV Encounter #6 / July 3, 2023)

Photograph by Dr. Michael Weiss · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T60C Tail Lob (OS Encounter #7 / March 3, 2023)

T60C Tail Lob (OS Encounter #7 / March 3, 2023)

Photograph by Joe Zelwietro · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

Bigg's orca and sea lion (OS Encounter #60 / September 30, 2023)

Bigg's orca and sea lion (OS Encounter #60 / September 30, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J59 Breach (OS Encounter #23 / May 31, 2023)

J59 Breach (OS Encounter #23 / May 31, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T109A4 and T109A3A in Victoria Harbour (OS Encounter #59 / September 23, 2023)

T109A4 and T109A3A in Victoria Harbour (OS Encounter #59 / September 23, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T49A and T49A6 (OS Encounter #12 / March 23, 2023)

T49A and T49A6 (OS Encounter #12 / March 23, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

T49A2 Spyhop (OS Encounter #11 / March 22, 2023)

T49A2 Spyhop (OS Encounter #11 / March 22, 2023)

Photograph by Mark Malleson · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

J56 Tail Lob  (OS Encounter #5 / February 21, 2023)

J56 Tail Lob (OS Encounter #5 / February 21, 2023)

Photograph by Dave Ellifrit · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

L94 Spyhopping next to daughter L127 (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

L94 Spyhopping next to daughter L127 (OS Encounter #34 / July 4, 2023)

Photograph by Sara Hysong-Shimazu · Copyright © 2023 Center for Whale Research

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