Encounter #127 - Dec 30, 2016
T124A and her calf
T124A and her calf

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T124A and one of the new calves
T124A and one of the new calves

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T124A2 and calf
T124A2 and calf

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T124A and her calf
T124A and her calf

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

1/11

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

Date:

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30-Dec-16

2

127

13:25

13:45

Orcinus

Dave Ellifrit

T86As and T124As

Haro Strait

48 38.84/123 10.70

48 37.57/123 11.26

Encounter Summary:

“Orcinus” left T77A and T49A2 at 1311 and began heading home. Just a few minutes after really getting going, Dave saw several blows to the south of him off the west tip of Spieden Island. “Orcinus” got to the area where they were seen at 1325 and the whales surfaced from a long dive heading south in a loose group in still relatively calm seas. The whales were the T86As and the T124As and it was soon apparent that T124A2 had a new calf since the spring and our last encounter with her. Unfortunately, the whales turned southwest and out into a very sloppy Haro Strait. “Orcinus” got two more insufficient passes at the whales before worsening sea conditions ended the encounter at 1345 a little west of Battleship Rock. The photos were good enough to determine that there were actually two new calves and that both T124A and T124A2 appear to be the mothers. If this turns out to be the case, we will refer to the new calves as T124A6 and T124A2B respectively, per Jared Towers and DFO.

Tom and Jane Cogan were also out this day in their boat “Morning Star” with Melisa Pinnow aboard. Since “Morning Star” is a larger and drier boat than “Orcinus”, they stayed with the whales for the rest of the afternoon and into calmer waters. Here is Melisa’s account of the rest of their day with the T86As and T124As:

“(the whales) surfed their way down Haro Strait in rough seas but once they were in line with Kellet Bluffs on Henry Island, they turned toward Sidney Island. Once they neared Sidney Island, they turned up Miners Channel where the sea conditions improved. As they passed Halibut Island, the whales split up momentarily and a kill took place. One of the adults spy hopped and T124A2 surfaced with seal pelt and meat in her mouth. The two matrilines then regrouped and quickly passed Mandarte Island. Another possible kill took place as they neared Forrest and Domville Island. The whales split up, spread out, and there were many direction changes. They regrouped again and continued on between Forrest and Domville Island. They were left as the sun was about to set, still between the two islands and aiming for Moresby Passage.”