Encounter #12 - Feb 20, 2016
T19C
T19C

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T19B
T19B

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T19C
T19C

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/2

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272

Date:

Sequence:

Enc Number:

Start Time:

End Time:

Vessel:

Observers:

Pods/ecotype:

Orca ID's:

Location:

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End Lat/Long:

20-Feb-16

1

12

1748

1815

Orca

Ken Balcomb & Sonja Fisch

Transients

T18 & T1

President Channel

48 degrees 39’ 48” N x 123 degrees 0’ 5” W

48 degrees 39’ 50” N x 123

degrees 59’ 55” W

 

 

 

 

Encounter Summary: 

Jane Cogan telephoned Ken Balcomb around 1700 hours and notified him that Jim Maya of Captain Maya’s Charters was trying to contact him concerning a sighting of Bigg’s killer whales northwest of Jones Island at the top of San Juan Channel. With diminishing daylight it was debatable whether an encounter could be conducted before dark, but Jim offered to keep the whales in view until Ken could arrive. Ken launched in “Orca” at 1715 with a guest and sped toward President Channel where the whales seemed to be heading. Arriving on scene at 1748, there was just barely enough light to take still photographs, but it was confirmed that T18 and the T19’s were present. The whales were circling around in an area a few hundred yards off the north shore of Orcas Island near Orcas Knob, and the behavior indicated that they were hunting a seal that remained beneath the surface for the duration of the encounter. Several still photographs were taken to document the identification of the whales, and then video was taken of the whales’ behavior to document the presumed hunting technique. The whales rotated surfacing to breathe and individuals exhibited differing dive times and association. T19 and T19B surfaced more frequently than T18 and T19C, suggesting the latter were keeping the presumed seal pinned down near the bottom and the former were guarding the potential surface escape. No oil slick or tissue was observed and the whales departed the area at 1815, heading north northeast along the Orcas Island shoreline toward Dick and Lauren Schuler-Donner’s home at the foot of Turtleback Mountain. Orca returned to Snug Harbor just as darkness arrived at 1845.