Encounter #126 - Dec 30, 2016
T49A2 is a male
T49A2 is a male

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T77A explodes
T77A explodes

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T49A2 and T77A
T49A2 and T77A

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T49A2 is a male
T49A2 is a male

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

1/16

Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 388

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Vessel:

Observers:

Pods/ecotype:

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End Lat/Long:

30-Dec-16

1

126

11:25

13:11

Orcinus

Dave Ellifrit

Transients

west Spieden Island area

48 36.82/123 11.25

48 39.96/123 10.70

Encounter Summary:

Jane Cogan called Dave at home at 1037 to relay a report of whales heading north at Smugglers Cove. Dave mobilized and headed to Snug Harbor and left aboard "Orcinus" at 1115. Dave headed out past Open Bay and around Kellett Bluff on Henry Island. Off the north end of the bluff, Dave saw a couple of blows less than a half mile south of Battleship Rock at 1125.

This turned out to be T77A and T49A2 traveling together and they were pointed at Battleship Rock. As they approached Battleship, they separated for almost ten minutes with T77A continuing north up Haro Strait. T49A2 briefly milled off the south end of Battleship before porpoising north to catch up to T77A. When they came up from a long dive, they were together again but now northeast of Battleship and pointed toward the west tip of Spieden Island. They pointed east into Spieden Channel for a series of surfacing before turning north again. The pair passed the west tip of Spieden Island and briefly approached the reefs south of Johns Pass before turning west.

A little after 1230, T77A and T49A2 entered Reid Harbor on the southeast end of Stuart Island. After about fifteen minutes or so, the pair began an attack on something several hundred yards inside the entrance to the harbor. "Orcinus" was a little too far away to see what they were after and it did not show up in pictures but the attack looked like an extended attack on a harbor seal. The attack went on for over ten minutes with lots of splashes and lunging and periods of both whales being down indicating they may have had a seal periodically pinned on the bottom. Eventually the attack turned into feeding as the whales milled more slowly and gulls became interested. Blubber oil could smelled in the air. The pair began to slowly leave Reid Harbor with some brief stops for some milling. They were close to shore while leaving the harbor and rounding the south end of Stuart Island. T49A2 become active and did several inverted taillobs, a couple of breaches, and lots of other splashing around while T77A slowly milled in the same area. One of T49A2's breaches confirmed what we had suspected and T49A2 is a male. T77A and T49A2 began slowly heading west on the south end of Stuart Island with brief periods of milling when "Orcinus" ended the encounter and left the scene at 1311.