The young whale, T46C2, was two years old when he was stranded in a small cove near remote Aristazabal Island in the summer of 2013 for several weeks. Scientists kept a close eye on the juvenile, hoping he would leave the bay himself.
But after a few weeks, he remained in the bay and continued to call loudly and repeatedly for his pod and was not eating properly. Researchers even made several attempts to entice Sam to leave the harbour by playing transient whale calls with an underwater speaker, but the young whale appeared to be afraid of passing through the harbour's entrance.
Eventually he was rescued in August 2013 and left the cove, and researchers hoped he would beat the odds and reunite with his T064C group.
Two years later on July 2, DFO researchers spotted the young whale with its family.
"This is the best possible outcome," said Carla Crossman, Vancouver Aquarium research biologist. "These sightings indicate that Sam has successfully reintegrated with its family and that like other maternally-related groups of killer whales, the T046Cs are maintaining social cohesion over long periods of time."