Summary: August 22nd 2023

Northern Residents: B7s, A42s, I16s, A23s

Humpback Whales: Quartz and Argonaut, Top Notch (off CP)

The night continued with the same grouping of resident orca, the A42s traveling with B7s and the I16s with the A23s. By 2:45am we were listening to the A23s and I16s mainly on the Kaizumi hydrophone, and by early morning, once again it was all 4 groups, with rotating calls from Main rubbing beach to Strider with a few distance calls to the west on Kaizumi. This pattern continued until 7:30 am; this is when the rubbing began on the Strider rubbing beach. From the surface camera we could see at least 10 orcas, the rubbing lasted a few minutes, and then they turned back to the west. We had a report from the Cliff at 8:00 am that they could see 2 different groups of orca traveling very slowly to the west in the Bight. At 8:50am there was a report from the kayak camp on the Sophia’s that the A23s and I16s had just passed heading west. The Bs and A42s had stayed on the Vancouver Island shore and by 8:50am we could see the Bs on the Kaizumi camera. The A23s and I16s continued west along the Hanson Island shore towards Weynton Pass and by noon we could hear their distinctive calls on the Flower Island hydrophone. After a long search we could see them, spread out foraging along the top end of Hanson Island from the Flower Island camera. They continued to travel to the west and were reported near Lizard point at 3:30pm and later, just after 7:00pm they rounded Bere Point. A43, along with a single male went in for a rub, then they all slowly headed west, clearing Bere Point at 8:45pm.

The Bs and A42s however stayed in the Strait and had made a few loops from east to west, then at 4:30pm they were heading east back into the reserve. There was silence on the hydrophones for a short period of time as the whales were in a resting line, traveling slowly eastwards. They arrived at Strider at 5:40pm, the rest ended, and they began to rub. This rub would last almost an hour, the longest so far of the season. Both the B7s and A42s were there, taking turns rubbing, lots of excitement calls, the scene on the camera was phenomenal to observe. At 7:20pm the rub ended.

At 7:45pm we could hear distant B calls on Cracroft Point, indicating another turn to the west, then a report from Boat Bay, they could see 1 group deep within the Bight, foraging and traveling west. At 8:20pm we could see orca on the Strider camera, and heard A5 calls, with distant B calls, they had all turned back east! By 8:30pm they were rubbing on Strider again and opened up with a series of A5 calls, this rub ended at 8:36pm. Both groups then turned and traveled towards the west and we could hear B and A5 calls on both main and strider hydrophones, with distant calls on Kaizumi. There was a report of orca blows seen at the Sophia’s which confirmed a westerly travel at this time, but by 10:20pm they had turned back east for another late evening rub at the beaches.

There was also the presence of humpback whales in front of the lab, with Quartz foraging for most of the day, and Argonaut joining in as the sun began to set. Orca calls continued throughout the night, and we now await to see if the A23s and I16s will return from the west.

Listen now

Stream our live hydrophone audio