2019 Encounters

Encounter #67 - September 11, 2019
Springtime off Vancouver Island

Springtime off Vancouver Island

Photo by Mark Malleson

DFO

DFO

Photo by Mark Malleson

Ks and Ls with Springtime

Ks and Ls with Springtime

Photo by Mark Malleson

Ks off Vancouver Island

Ks off Vancouver Island

Photo by Mark Malleson

K22, K33 with Mike 1 in background

K22, K33 with Mike 1 in background

Photo by Ken Balcomb

L88 crop

L88 crop

Photo by Mark Malleson

DFO

DFO

Photo by Ken Balcomb

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Date: 11-09-2019

Sequence: 1

Encounter Number: 67

Enc Start Time: 10:12

Enc End Time: 14:53

Vessel: Mike 1, Springtime

Observers: Mark Malleson, Ken Balcomb, Florian Graner, Antonia Aust, Greg Bella

Pods or ecotype: K's, L's

Location: Clo-oose

Begin Lat/Long: 48 36.8/124 50.4

End Lat/Long: 48 38.5/124 57.4

Encounter Summary:

Mark left Port Renfrew on Mike 1 at 0745 and Springtime pulled anchor shortly after. Ken and Mark made a plan that Mike 1 would head out towards Swiftsure Bank and then take a line for Nitinat/Clo-ose before heading east towards Springtime which was going to run up the coast towards Carmanah. There was no fog so between the two boats this would maximize the search effort for the Southern Residents.
At 1012 Mark spotted killer whales north bound 3.5 miles south of the mouth of the Nitinat River.
The first whale he identified was K20 and could see that they were spread out over at least 2 miles. They were traveling on a line from Swiftsure Bank towards the Vancouver Island shoreline. Mark called Springtime on the VHF to report the sighting and to see how far away they were. Ken reported they were 6 miles away near Bonilla Point making 6 knots and figured Mark would have them "cleaned up" by the time they arrived. Mark assured him that he would not as they were so spread out and doing long dives.
The whales started to forage when they got close to shore but were generally west bound. Ken and crew on Springtime arrived with the trailing animals off of Clo-ose at ~1130 as Mark worked his way west until he was certain that he had found the most western lead animals. They confirmed that they had all of K pod and all members of L pod except the L12's. At one point the entire group changed directions and started making their way east towards Carmanah but soon after they flipped and worked their way back to the west. Springtime broke away from the whales and worked their way back to the east with hopes of finding the rest of the Clan. Mike 1 ended the encounter at 1453 after watching K21 frollick with L88 and K26 and headed east back towards Port Renfrew. 

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388