2018 Encounters

Encounter #6 - Feb 10, 2018
T10 and T10C's flukes

T10 and T10C's flukes

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T10 spyhop

T10 spyhop

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

he T10s

he T10s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T10C

T10C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

20180210DKE_GI2-172_T10C with Mt. Baker

20180210DKE_GI2-172_T10C with Mt. Baker

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

the T10s

the T10s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T10C

T10C

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T10C with seal

T10C with seal

Photo by Melisa Pinnow

T10C lunges at a seal

T10C lunges at a seal

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

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Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569-01/ DFO SARA 388

Photos taken under Be Whale Wise Guidelines

Date: 10-Feb-18

Sequence: 1

Sequence:  2

Encounter Number: 06

Enc Start Time: 11:55-13:42

Enc End Time: 15:55-1650

Vessel: Morning Star, Orca

Observers: Dave Ellifrit, Melisa Pinnow, Tom and Jane Cogan

Pods or ecotype: Transients

Location: Juan de Fuca Strait and Haro Strait

Begin Lat/Long: 48 32.26/123 15.43

End Lat/Long: 48 33.41/123 16.80

 

Encounter Summary:

Mark Malleson found the T10s heading east off the Victoria waterfront right out of the harbor on his morning Prince of Whales trip. Mark stayed with them for awhile before continuing on with his trip. Since it was a nice day, Tom and Jane Cogan were already out in their boat “Morning Star” on a whale search with Melisa Pinnow aboard and they went to the area after Mark left them.
“Morning Star” located the T10s 2 miles southeast of Trial Island around 1155 after Mark left them. They were heading southeast at about 9 knots but then started milling. T10 then split off from T10C and headed northeast and disappeared for about 40 minutes. During those 40 minutes, T10C was with a harbor seal but was treating it like it was a sea lion. Lots of lunges (not clearing the water), side sweeps, and ramming. T10C would also repeatedly go on super long deep dives while attacking the seal and the seal would just hang out at the surface when T10C was down. T10C would then come back up from the super long deep dives right where the seal was and pick up right where he left off. He would also slowly circle the seal at the surface. T10 eventually came back and when she did, they worked together with the ramming and the circling and finally killed the seal about 20 minutes later. The seal survived about an hour of beatings! “Morning Star” left T10 and T10C around 1342 as they started heading back towards Seabird Point, about 1 mile south of Seabird. By this point, other whale watch boats out of Victoria were on scene and “Morning Star” left to go on a search to the west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Jane had been keeping Dave informed of the T10’s movements throughout the day. The T10s headed north on the Canadian side of Haro Strait and Dave finally committed to going out after a call from Jane at about five minutes to 1500. While briefly at CWR to grab gear, Dave heard Mark say over the radio that the T10s may have grabbed another seal in an inconspicuous kill while they were heading north. Dave left Snug Harbor 1540 and got on scene at 1555 about a half mile west of Kelp Reef. Mark and another POW boat were just starting to head home from their afternoon trips leaving Dave all alone with the T10s. T10 and T10C were traveling slowly north in a tight pair, being mellow and cooperative.
At 1610, after a long dive, the pair came up vigorously milling in a small area. T10 and T10C were alternating their long dives with one animal at a time surfacing enthusiastically in multiple directions before arching big and going on a long dive. Then the other whale would start surfacing. This was classic whales having a seal pinned on the bottom behavior and they kept it up for fifteen minutes until a good-sized harbor seal popped to the surface. The whales immediately began their attack with T10C doing most of the lunges. It wasn’t quite clear if they killed the seal until they moved off to the north a little. Then, there was a little shaking from the whales and then a bunch of gulls swooped down to pick up seal scraps. Seal blubber oil could be smelled in the air. After the kill and a little milling, the T10s continued on after a spyhop from T10 and a couple of tail lobs from T10C. “Morning Star” had come back from their whale search for another brief look at the T10s and caught the tail end of the seal kill. Both boats left at about the same time with the T10s still heading slowly north along the southeast shoreline of D’Arcy Island at 1650.