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Morning Tour

It was a drizzly September morning but luckily the animals we were searching for were not too fussed, they do live in the ocean after all! As we headed south, we came across our first animal of the day which was a Humpback whale.

Humpback Whale
Back of a Humpback Whale. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The whale itself was mixing up its swimming behaviour; some deep dives showing its white under tail, some lazy tail flicks and other times simply arching its “humped” back before going underneath the surface once again.

Humpback Whale Tail
Humpback Whale about to take a deep dive showing its white under tail. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We continued out West in search for more wildlife and spotted some pointy black fins in the distance. It was a male and female Killer Whale! The big male was displaying some interesting behaviour. He was twisting and turning at the surface of the water as if wrestling with an unfortunate prey item.

Killer Whale
Killer Whale twisting around. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

After getting a solid identification photo we were able to identify the individual as K26 “Lobo” from the Southern Resident K-pod. The female was subsequently ID-ed as his mother K14 “Lea”. We left the pair to it and wished them well on their hunt for plump salmon. As we journeyed on, we came across another Killer Whale.

Killer Whale Spout
Spout of a Killer Whale. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped

Knowing that endangered Southern Resident Killer whales were in the area we were very cautious with this animal and again endeavoured to get another ID shot. It was indeed another member of K-pod but this time it was K21 a big male nicknamed “Cappuccino”, perhaps named because of a beautiful swirl pattern in his saddle patch. Once identified we moved away from “Cappuccino” and headed for home. It was a very rewarding morning out on the water, not only being able to see two species of whale but being able to contribute to the tracking of endangered Southern Residents Killer Whales.

 

Afternoon Tour

The typical Pacific northwest weather had started to clear up by the afternoon and we set off on our adventure full of exuberance. Our first stop was at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. The Sea Lions greeted us with open flippers waving in the air.

Steller Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion posing on the rocks. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We particularly enjoyed watching a very robust Steller Sea Lion make a big splash as he jumped off the rocks into the water. As usual the California Sea Lions barked away, if only we could understand what they were saying to each other. I am sure it would be very telling. Harbour Seals galumphed around in the shallows, minding their own business. We were also fortunate enough to spot the infamous “Harry” the Sea Otter napping in the bull Kelp.

Sea otter Harry
Harry, the resident Sea Otter within bull kelp. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

He was periodically brushing his fur with his little paws. This can help keep Sea Otters warm by trapping air in between layers of their thick pelt.  Pelagic cormorants also peppered the high cliffs. We continued our search for larger marine mammals out West when from the fog came some Killer Whales, their black dorsal fins piercing through the mist.

Killer Whale.
Killer Whale. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Again, a little investigatory work proved valuable and we found ourselves in the presence of K-pod Southern Resident Killer whales. Once more we documented the individuals and carried on our way. A special privilege to see so much wildlife and an endangered species in the waters of the Salish Sea.

More photos of this amazing day on the water can be found in our Facebook Album.

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