the T2Cs from the deck at CWR

the T2Cs from the deck at CWR

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L110 and L83

L110 and L83

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L88

L88

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L108 and L106

L108 and L106

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L pod off Race Rocks

L pod off Race Rocks

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L84, L117, and L105

L84, L117, and L105

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L88 and L84

L88 and L84

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L84

L84

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

L41 and L119

L41 and L119

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

Dave trying to keep whales in the frame

Dave trying to keep whales in the frame

Photo by Mark Malleson

the L12 males L41, L85, and L89

the L12 males L41, L85, and L89

Photo by Mark Malleson

the L12s

the L12s

Photo by Mark Malleson

Ls at Race Rocks

Ls at Race Rocks

Photo by Mark Malleson

young male breach

young male breach

Photo by Mark Malleson

L72 and L105

L72 and L105

Photo by Mark Malleson

Ls in Race Passage

Ls in Race Passage

Photo by Mark Malleson

Encounter #44 - June 12, 2017

Date: 12-Jun-17

Sequence: 1

Sequence: 2

Encounter Number: 44

Enc Start Time: 08:30

Enc End Time: 13:47

Vessel: Mark Malleson in Mike 1, Dave in Orcinus

Observers: Mark Malleson and Dave Ellifrit

Pods or ecotype: L pod

Location:Juan de Fuca Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 20.71/123 25.57

End Lat/Long: 48 18.25/123 30.48

 

Encounter Summary:

Mark Malleson’s account of his morning with L pod.
I received a call at 0645 on the morning of June 12 from a fishing guide (Johnny Chow/Gotcha Charters) out of Sooke that he saw a large group of killer whales foraging off East Sooke Park traveling east.
As I taxied out of Victoria’s harbor on Mike 1, I received another call from him at 0745 that there was another group of ~10 – 15 animals headed east off of Secretary Island.
As I approached Race Passage at 0830 I slowed down expecting to spot the lead group and sure enough they were approaching Race Passage in a tight group making only a couple of knots over the ground against the strong ebb current. They started to surf in the current generated waves in the pass before they cut across and entered Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. The worked their way throughout the reserve along the kelp beds with a few of them tail lobbing perhaps flushing the salmon out before they turned back west and looped around the south side of Great Race. I left them at 0904 south east bound near the green can buoy marking Rosedale Rock and went to look for the reported trailing group.
I made my way west bound along the shoreline of Vancouver Island and at 915 spotted a group of animals slightly east of Becher Bay between the Bedford Islands and Church Rock. It was the L12’s in a tight group also traveling east. Less than a quarter mile behind them was the L54’s along with L84 and L88.
I left them at 0955 as they exited Race Passage tight to the Bentick Island shoreline heading north east for Victoria.

Dave Ellifrit’s account of his morning with L pod.

Dave’s day started with a call from Ken around 0730 to report that he was watching a group of transients milling around Low Island. Dave dropped his Cheerios and hurried out the door in time to make it to CWR’s porch and watch the T2Cs come north from right behind Sunset Point at 0800. The T2Cs gave Ken and Dave a real nice pass by as they headed slowly north, passing right outside of the reef in front of CWR. T2C did a loop inside the reef before continuing north. After the T2Cs had passed, Dave made a quick trip home to finish breakfast only to find a message from Ken saying Mark was on L pod whales near Race Rocks. Ken left in “Shachi” and Dave followed him in “Orcinus” about half an hour later. Ken ran into rough seas off the Victoria waterfront due to an ebbing tide and called to say we should probably wait a bit as the Ls were still many miles west of Victoria on the other side of uncomfortably sloppy seas. Ken headed home to get stuff done on shore while Dave went to Roche Harbor to top off “Orcinus” with fuel. After a chat with Ken back at Snug, Dave decided to give it another try to see if the seas had calmed down and left Snug Harbor again at 1035. The water off the Victoria waterfront had calmed down some but were still lumpy when Dave finally arrived on scene at about 1135 somewhere south of Albert Head. This front group of whales was the ten L12s and they headed slowly east in a loose group. Mark, who was back on scene in a POW boat, decided to head back toward Race Rocks to see if he could find the rest of the Ls that he had seen earlier in the morning.

Mark did indeed find the rest of the Ls in one big group back near Race Rocks so Dave left the L12s at about 1220 and turned west into a stiffening breeze and even sloppier seas. It was a slow, painful boat ride back to the rear group with many jarring slams and much water over the bow and down the front of the shirt. It was the type of boat ride that knocks screws loose in both the boat and the body. However, with Marks help, Dave eventually made it to the whales by 1300 right off the south side of Race Rocks. Dave could barely see and had to stop somewhere near the scene to clean the salt water off his glasses and only then was able to look up and see how close to the scene he actually was. The rest of L pod was in one fairly tight group heading north very slowly. The passed Race Rocks on the south and east side and were pointed toward Pedder Bay. Dave stayed long enough to grab a picture of all the whales before leaving the scene at 1347. All members of L pod were photographed and accounted for.
Dave bounced back east past the waterfront, encountering a patch of calm water between Trial Island and Seabird Point before hitting another lumpy patch mid Haro Strait. The L12s had been reported to have passed Middle Bank and were headed toward SJI. Luckily, there was another calm spot near shore from Hannah Heights to Eagle Point. Dave briefly saw L25 around 1500 pointed south just south of False Bay and then L89 and L22 appeared spread out behind her and also headed south in a business-like manner. Dave headed north and for home at 1515.

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Photos taken under Federal Permits
NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

2017 Encounters