2019 Encounters

Encounter #99 - December 3, 2019
T028B

T028B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T028B

T028B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T028B

T028B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T117B

T117B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T117A

T117A

Photo by Mark Malleson

T046B1's

T046B1's

Photo by Mark Malleson

T030B

T030B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T030B

T030B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T030B

T030B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T030B

T030B

Photo by Mark Malleson

T028B

T028B

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

T028B, T028B1

T028B, T028B1

Photo by Mark Malleson

T028B

T028B

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Mark Malleson

Photo by Joe Zelwietro

0191203JAZ_JF1 (6)

0191203JAZ_JF1 (6)

Photo by Joe Zelwietro

Photo by Joe Zelwietro

Photo by Joe Zelwietro

20160331DAG_SJ1-179_J53 spyhop.jpg
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Enc Date: 03/12/19

Enc Seq: 1

Enc#: 99

Observ Begin: 11:50 AM

Observ End: 02:01 PM

Vessel: Mike 1

Staff: Mark Malleson

Other Observers: Joe Zelwietro

Pods: Transients

Location Descr: Southwest of Sooke

Start Latitude: 48 15.2

Start Longitude: 123 44.2

End Latitude: 48 15.9

End Longitude: 123 47.9

Enc Summary:

Mark and Joe departed Victoria at 1000 with plans to search the western Strait of Juan de Fuca. The previous two days saw large waves of Bigg's killer whales enter the area, with around 40 unique individuals accounted for in the Salish Sea. A light wind out of the southeast, a strong ebb current and a quiet morning of hilltop scans had them more optimistic about their chances west. They stopped briefly northeast of Race Rocks for a small aggregation of humpback whales in the area. They estimated 6-8 whales within two square miles, including BCX0470 "Hecate" and BCZ0180 "Monarch" before continuing southwest.

They reached Race Pass and opted to continue along the Canadian shoreline as it can be a hotspot this time of year. The two reached Secretary Island before the tidal chop picked up and pushed them to a weather tack south. They slowed mid-Strait for a scan before looping back to the east when Mark spotted several killer whales just to the west, apparently headed SSE. They began the encounter here at 1150 (48 15.2/123 44.2). These whales turned out to be several of the T046Bs; the T046B1s were spotted just under a mile south. All of the whales turned west on the next surfacing, and Joe spotted several more blows approximately 1.5 miles west of them. Mark and Joe made their way slowly towards this larger group and were rewarded with the early stages of a Steller sea lion hunt at 1203 (48 14.4/123 47.2). The animals involved turned out to be the T028Bs, T030Bs, T117B, T121As and T172, several rare visitors to the Salish Sea. The T046Bs arrived in their matrilineal groups and waited on the periphery of the hunt, along with T117A. The large group continuously rammed and breached upon the sea lion, and had pulled it under within 30 minutes. The T046Bs and later T117A joined the predation and all whales fed for close to an hour as they drifted west with the ebb current. The T028Bs, T030Bs, T117B, the T121As and T172 grouped up and angled ENE towards Becher Bay or Race Rocks, and the T046Bs and T117A shortly followed suit. Mark and Joe ended the encounter at 1401 (48 15.9/123 47.9 with all of the animals grouped tightly together travelling east. After a brief stop SW of Constance Bank for a tight gathering of humpbacks, they arrived back in Victoria at 1530.

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 21238/ DFO SARA 388