Encounter #9


Location: Monterey

ID: CA140Bs, CA23A2, CA113s

There were at least 12 whales in the area last Tuesday! We first encountered the CA140Bs with CA23A2, and CA20, CA54, CA177, as well as  CA49C and CA49C1.  We then found CA137 and CA40 swimming together in an area near the first group, both of which seemed to be foraging! 

A bit more about the whales...
CA20, CA54, and CA177 are a very tight trio! CA20 and CA177 always travel together, but are almost certainly not related. CA177 was not photographed until 1997, with a totally different group of whales. CA20 is also always with CA54, who is likely his mother and is suspected to be one of our oldest females. These two were first seen together in Monterey Bay in 1987!

FUN FACT: they traveled together to Alaska in 1989 with CA27 and CA18 (now gone). These four orcas were our first and only to be confirmed in Alaska!
It was exciting to see CA49C and CA49C1 with this group, as they usually travel with the CA51As! CA49C1 and CA140B3 “Buzz” (most recent calf of CA140B “Louise”) were both born around the same time, in late 2019.
We suspect CA40 to be the mother of CA137 since they are so often seen together, but, because he was never seen as a calf with her, it remains an assumption based off of their long-term association (it’s also possible she adopted him). CA163 “Liner,” however, is her son and was seen with her as a calf, but he strangely does not always travel with her.  CA40 was first seen in 1991 and CA137 was a large sprouting male when he was first seen in 1991, so both ages are unknown.

Photo 1 & 2 by Daniel Bianchetta
Photo 3 by Nancy Black"