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There were rumblings in the oceanic jungle of Transient Killer Whales in the Salish Sea. Our mission if we chose to accept it was to try and catch up with them. We wholeheartedly accepted and the Marauder IV set sail with purpose. We cruised East, past Trial Island and onwards to Discovery. Crossing the Haro Strait towards the USA’s San Juan Island we were getting close. Upon rounding Henry Island we were met with the satisfying sight of black dorsal fins piercing through the water’s surface, it was the T60s family group.

T60 family group of orcas
T60 family group of orcas. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The wind was carrying their blows as the Orca gracefully came up and down to the surface to take a breath. Then after watching these animals travel for a period of time there was a switch in their behavior, as instant as turning on a switch. The energy was heightened; the Transient Killer Whales’ movements became fast and non-directional, the hunt was on.  The gory details were thankfully hidden under water but on the surface there was splashing and tail lobbing.

Tail lobbing orca
Tail lobbing orca. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Once the deed was done the largest in the group, a male, spy-hopped (lifted its head out of the water) perhaps proud of its achievements. Not only did this male spy hop once, he repeated the motion again much to everyone’s delight! As the adrenaline died down the family group continued their travels, hugging the coastline as they went. Magical to witness the strength, agility and pure grace of the ocean’s apex predator. Check out our Facebook album for more photos from today’s tour!

Spyhopping orca
Spyhopping orca. Photo taken by Naturalist Gord with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
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