Encounter #42 - May 11, 2016
T123C
T123C

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T123A
T123A

Photo by Ken Balcomb

Big Mama from House
Big Mama from House

Photo by Ken Balcomb

T123C
T123C

Photo by Ken Balcomb

1/9

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

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11-May-16

1

42

1423

1525

Chimo

Ken Balcomb + TV crew

Transients

T123, T123A, T123C

Haro Strait

48 25N/123 11W

48 27N/123 11W

Encounter Summary: 

My plan was to go to Victoria this morning to deliver “Shachi” for a lubricant change and routine maintenance, but I hesitated too long while writing up the report of yesterday’s encounter and the fog rolled in to delay me further. Just as the fog was thinning, a German television crew rolled in to shoot a special 50 minute documentary for the European audience, BBC style. That took the rest of the day, but their timing was in one sense perfect – the sun was shining brilliantly (no rain), the water was like a mirror (FACWTTR* conditions as Steve Leatherwood used to say – no wind), and Big Mama the humpback whale with her newest calf swam right in front of the house and fluked for the cameras before moseying down to Bellevue Point. Transient killer whales were off Victoria coming this way so there was no rush to do anything except conduct a few interviews - in the office, in the yard, and ultimately in the boat. By the time the latter task was completed while drifting around off Mitchell Bay, the Transients had turned the corner around Discovery Island and were meandering up Haro Strait. That was handy!
We might as well go killer whale-watching to make the story complete for the European audience, so I powered up and took the crew to Canada (48 Degrees 25’ 51.856”N/ 123 Degrees 11’51.346” W) where the T123’s were entertaining viewers near Beaumont Shoals. Even a cruise ship joined the show enthralling at least ten passengers as we arrived and briefly photo-documented T123 and her offspring, T123A, and T123C. They made one circling maneuver around what might have once been a Harbor Seal, and then they continued up Haro Strait at a leisurely pace toward Kelp Reef. I had no desire to overextend our welcome, so we went back to Mitchell Bay where Big Mama and her calf were travelling back north with the incoming tide. One quick fluke shot and then we were done! It’s a ‘wrap’ for the day, at least.

Notes-Comments:*FACWTTR is on the Leatherwood scale, which unlike the Beaufort scale is defined as: Flat-Ass-Calm-With-Teeney-Tiny-Ripples; and, it is not unlike Flip Nicklin’s scale which dictates the only suitable conditions for photographing whales.