Photo by Barbara Bender

T123A
T123A

Photo by Barbara Bender

BCX1057
BCX1057

Photo by Barbara Bender

Photo by Barbara Bender

1/23

Encounter Summary: 

Returning victorious from a sailboat race around Saltspring Island, Mark Malleson smelled a marine mammal kill and then spotted a group of Bigg’s transient killer whales in Satellite Channel around 1300 hours. He followed the whales briefly as they travelled from mid-channel to near Fulford Harbor, and then went up the southeast side of Saltspring Island very close to shore, and very active. Dave was busy on “Orca” with Encounter 33 involving a very spread out J pod in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, so Ken Balcomb and Barbara Bender took “Chimo” north at 1500 to encounter the T’s that were by then past Beaver Point and heading toward Ganges Harbor, very close to the shoreline and still very actively breaching and tail-slapping, etc. This encounter began at 1543 very near Yeo Point, Saltspring Island as the whales continued their travels up the east side of the island.Rarely have we seen Bigg’s killer whales so actively playful and obvious as this group, as they passed within a few meters of the shoreline, and the hominids scrambled and ran along the rocky shoreline attempting to keep up with them. Certainly the whales were not in stealth mode! The group was comprised of the T49A’s and the T123’s, totaling eight whales, with the youngsters frequently breaching and tail-lobbing amongst the onlookers. We saw no predation events in the 48 minutes we were present to document who was there. The group travelled so close to the shoreline, and there were so many people watching from shore that we elected to end the encounter before somebody called the cops to have us evicted. As Mike Bigg foretold many years ago, the delicacy of our research work increases as the public becomes more aware of the presence of these whales, and the individuality that we illuminate and champion. As we learn more, our presence is appreciated less by the public at large that, for the most part, wishes nature not be violated by the presence of others. Permit or no permit, we are all interlopers in their world.The encounter ended at 1635 about three miles from Ganges Harbor, and we sped off to attempt to identify two humpback whales that were reported near Sucia Island, USA. The latter turned out to be BCX1057 (I will call it “Divot”) and BCX 1068 (“Splitfluke”).

Notes-Comments:Humpbacks BCS1057 and BCX1068 seen near Skipjack Island heading across Boundary Pass toward Java Islets. Two nice sets of double breach.

17-May-15

2

34

15:43

16:35

Chimo

Ken Balcomb

Barbara Bender

Transient

T49A,T49A1,T49A2,T49A3,

T49A4,T123,T123A,T123C

Yeo Point, SSI

48.47.804/123.23.321

48.49.467/123.26.515

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Encounter #34 - May 17, 2015

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272