Summary: August 28th 2023

Northern Residents: A23s, unidentified group

Humpbacks: Fallen Knight, Inukshuk, Quartz, Guardian and baby

Possibly Pacific White-sided dolphins

The last report of the A42s and the Bs, and possibly the I16s and A23s was from Kate who heard their calls near Bere Point just after midnight. At the lab it was an evening of silence on the hydrophones, except of course for boat noise.

Just before 8am there was echolocation on the Flower Island hydrophone and at 8:18am A60 was seen heading south at West Pass with the rest of the A23s closer to our side opposite White Beach Pass. There were a few N3 calls, but for the most part they were very quiet. At 8:30am they were spread out in 3 groups from Parsons Light to Parson Island with A60 and A95 in the lead. By 8:45am they had cleared the view of the Lab as they headed towards Johnstone Strait. They angled towards the middle of the Strait between Cracroft and the Sophia Islands. The A5 calls on the Kaizumi hydrophone indicated this movement across the Strait. Due to the amount of smoke in the air it was difficult to see the A23s on the remote camera until they were near Izumi Rock at 9:30am. At 10:43am the Cliff Research site reported the A23s approaching Critical Point (the eastern headland of the Robson Bight).

A60 was a bit offshore from the rest of his group the whole time they were easting through Robson Bight. When his family went in for a rub at Strider Fife (A60) did not rub but crossed over to the Cracroft Island side.

At 10:50am the rubbing started on Strider, lots of chuffs (displacement of the pebbles), and calls, beautiful footage over the camera and live on This rub lasted until 11:27am when the orca made a turn back to the west.

A60 went under the Cliff on Cracroft Island headed west at 12:21pm.

It was 12:45pm before the rest of the A23s approached Kaizumi beach along with a group of Pacific White-sided dolphins. A60, still separated from the group, continued to travel closer to Cracroft Island headed now towards the entrance of Blackney Pass. He and the rest on the other side continued for a while longer to the west. At some point the majority of the group circled around and negotiated a turn back towards the entrance of Blackney Pass along with A60.

By 2:30pm the A23s were once again going through Blackney, this time to the north, with A60 leading the way. They were directly in front of the Lab by 2:40pm, mid way, with at least 3 boats following. At 2:50pm they cleared to the north, separated into 3 groups. Soon they were on the Flower Island camera, spread out in Blackfish Sound, with a group of over 40 dolphins. By 3:15pm there were no calls and they were no longer visible.

Out of view for some time, they turned back to the south and were now once again in front of the Lab by 4:30pm, not a single call had been heard! As was the theme for the day, A60 was leading, with the rest of the A23s in a tight group, travelling very slowly in a resting line. This was also an entire day of thunder and lightning, very dramatic, but this did seem to have any impact on the whales at all. At one point A60 joined his family, and when this happened they suddenly changed direction that only lasted for a few breaths. Then, with A60 in the group, they continued in slow motion, resting and travelling very relaxed, making long dives, coming to the surface for a few breaths, then back down, side by side. At 5:50pm they cleared into the entrance of Blackney Pass but this time travelled west on the Cracroft remote camera. At some point they changed their minds and a report at 8:10pm from Cliff confirmed that the A23s were easting past their Boat Bay camp, close to the Cracroft shore. We expected to hear calls on one of the rubbing beaches to follow, but the only sound we heard was the continuing thunder, followed by lightning, lasting until 10pm, then all was quiet.

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