Summary: July 11-15th 2023

Orcas: A42s (Georgia Strait), T060s T069D2, T059

Humpbacks: Argonaut, Quartz, Ripple, Ridge, Inukshuk, Guardian and baby.

Despite the fact that there have not been Northern Residents in our particular area does not mean that there was not a lot of activity. We were satisfied by Bigg’s orcas, Humpbacks and reports of distant Northern Residents. Starting with the A42s, Holly (or Sonora’s) family. You may remember that Holly took her family past the Lab on July 7 and carried on into Georgia Strait. We were able to follow their movement because the whale watch boats coming out of Campbell River were keeping close track of their movements from apparently early morning to evening. On July 11 they were seen rubbing at Francis Point around 8:30am. By 10:22am they were headed north. By afternoon they had turned back south near the Quadra- Cortez ferry. Shifting north that same day Dylan Smyth heard the G03 matriline near Hope Island (north tip of Vancouver Island). On the 12th reports juggled once more from the northwest and the southeast. The A42s were off southwest Quadra Island then off the top of the spit by 10:40am very close to the beach and apparently liking each other’s company! Donna let us know that there were orcas between the Fosters and Holfords in Queen Charlotte Strait. This seemed very promising. Then Megan relayed that the T060s were hunting Dall’s Porpoise in Weynton Passage near the Plumper Islands at 1:40pm so probably they were the very same orca who were in Queen Charlotte Strait earlier. Jared mentioned that T069D2 was with them. Elsewhere, the A42s around 2:20pm had found another rubbing beach on northwest Manna Island. Moving to the 13th. Just before 11am Alex Morton saw a group of Bigg’s orcas heading east in Queen Charlotte Strait. This was again the T060s, this time accompanied by Grandmother T059. Jared Towers once again made the identification. We picked up their trail acoustically when they were passing Cracroft Point in Johnstone Strait and then visually with the aid of the remote camera as they continued eastward. The T060s were not done with us, turning up the next day once again off Cracroft Point at 7:42am heading east at first then turning around to the west after reaching Robson Bight at 9:25am. They passed the Cliff Research site at 1:09pm. Just three minutes later they were off the Baron Reefs and a short while later seen on the Cracroft Point remote camera. Sure enough, they slipped into Blackney Pass at 1:39pm. As they headed north through the Pass they took very long dives between surfacings. Once opposite the Lab the cohesive group spread apart and began to go in different directions as if looking for something. Another long dive brought the male T060C to the surface and the fleet of boats following the whales on either side accompanied the group into Blackfish Sound at 3:08pm.

On this same day, on the North Coast, the A54s, A24s, A25s passed the Fin Island Research station. The next day, July 15, the A42s were still south of but this time in Sutil Channel which just might indicate a possible shift north.

Our list of humpbacks seen during this time period includes Argonaut, Quartz, Ripple, Ridge, Inukshuk, Guardian and baby.

The weather, although a bit too dry, has been spectacular. We welcomed Mark McCalllum back. Mark is working on putting a new roof on part of the main building. A huge and complicated job. Claire, Juliette, Jeremie and Agathe have pitched in and helped. We welcomed newcomers Ali and Grace, as well as, Chloe and Serah more recently. Anna, Tony and Jamie have come for a short visit. Our entire little group (not so little when gathered for dinner in the small living room) has managed to keep everything going as we wait for the Northern Residents to turn up.

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