Encounter #40 - May 6, 2016
T100B
T100B

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T102
T102

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100B1
T100B1

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T100B
T100B

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/6

Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 288

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06-May-16

1

40

1854

1921

Chimo

Ken Balcomb
Gail Richard

Transients

T110B, T100B1, T101, T101A, T101B, T102

Haro Strait

48 32.693/123 12.313

48 34.402/123 11.876

Encounter Summary: 

Early in the morning as he was transiting to Port Renfrew, Brian Gisborne called in to report Resident Killer Whales (J16’s) heading west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sooke, Vancouver Island, and shortly later called in a report of six Transient Killer Whales heading east in the Strait off Jordan River. The latter group continued in an easterly direction and provided whale-watchers a day of excitement as they leisurely passed by Victoria and came around Discovery Island into Haro Strait, while the Residents continued out of sight toward the Pacific Ocean. Around 1830, Mark Malleson concluded his last whale-watch trip of the day with the “T’s” then in mid-Haro Strait right in front of the Center for Whale Research. The weather and water conditions literally beckoned Ken and Gail from the porch out to a brief encounter with the T100B’s and the T101’s (including T102) as they continued northwesterly in Haro Strait with an incoming tide. No predation was observed, although Mark had reported that they consumed a Harbor Porpoise earlier near the confluence of Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where there seemed to be literally hundreds of porpoises in small groups. The two brothers (T101A and T101B) appeared to be travelling separate from the others and were closer to shore and behind the others by about one mile as the ominous band of predators continued past Henry Island. If they were all in hunting mode, it was very relaxed and they were not bothered by our brief presence. I often wonder what they think of us humans – are we to them like flies in a barn are to livestock? Or is there a mutual respect?

Notes-Comments:  These whales were in Encounter 38-1 in Boundary Pass heading west on 3 May, and presumably they went out to the Pacific Ocean before returning three days later. The Transient killer whale occurrence and distribution now seems to be much like that of Resident's of yesteryear - a regime shift in zoogeography is happening, no doubt driven by availability of prey resources (and lack thereof). Hopefully, they all find food somewhere as humans consume the planet.