We located a group of transient orcas in Swanson Channel, south of Active Pass at approximately 12:30, in flat calm water. The group had killed a seal or two just prior to our arrival. They were busily guarding the entrails of their prey from swooping seagulls as we came on scene (see photo below). The group consisted of females, juveniles and calves that we later ID'ed as the T36's, T37 and the T99's. After their meal, the whales were very social, and we were able to listen to some amazing vocals that continued for most of our encounter. The adults T36, T36B, T37 and T99 were observed logging at the surface several times, while the calves and juveniles were extremely social with one another, and about 100 metres from the dozing adults. Between these episodes, the calves would temporarily rejoin with the adults before once again forming into a play group. We were fortunate to observe spyhops, lunges, tail slaps, and tail stands. So much for serious, quiet transients. I love it when the whales have me re-thinking all those generalizations.
Joan Lopez, Naturalist, Vancouver Whale Watch, B.C.
April 15, 2011
Graeme Ellis of Canada's Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans called in a report of his encounter with the large group of Transients in Sansum Narrows and Ladysmith Harbor, B.C. from April 15th. They had a total of about 31 orcas total, IDs include the T100s, T36s, T20 & T21, T124s, T65As T90s, T99s, T137s, T87s and T37s. They found them in Swanson Channel after we got the call from Tamar Griggs, then followed them down as they went into and back out of Ladysmith Island, and left them around 7 pm up by Yellow Pt.
April 17, 2011
Ken Balcomb and Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research arrived on scene just north of East Point (48° 47.08 N; 123° 02.51 W) at 12:15 p.m. The transients, who had been traveling north into the southern Strait of Georgia, had just turned around and came charging back out of the tide rip and began some intense milling around Rosenfeld Rock which had 30-40 Steller sea lions on it. There were thousands of Bonaparte's gulls working the tide rips. The whales briefly harassed one sea lion but apparently let it go. A couple whales continued to cruise around the rock while the rest of the whales on the calm side of the tide rip milled around the area in a social kind of way. There was another group of about 10 T's in the area but were on the rough side of the tide rip so we did not make it to them. We ended the encounter at 48° 47.23Np; 123° 02.37 W, around 1:30 p.m.as the whales turned north again into the sloppy waters of Georgia Strait. The whales photographed by CWR: T36, T36A, T36A1, T36B, T36B1, T37, T99, T99A, T99B, T99C, T124, T124D, T124E, T137, T137A, and T137B. Sixteen whales total.
Center for Whale Research, San Juan Island, WA
April 30, 2011
Finally found some Transients yesterday (April 30). They seemed to disappear for a few days but we found a group of about 15 yesterday including T37's, T65A and calves and T137A. They were in the middle of the Strait of Georgia and were heading for the coal docks. Here's a couple pics, one of the whales by the ferry terminal and another just past it. Cheers,
Wild Whales Vancouver