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Morning Tours

We set out on a fresh summer morning with whales on the brain. Every journey out into the Pacific ocean is a search, while the crew has expectations about what we may encounter, it is Humpback and Killer Whale season, we never know what we will find.

With no early boats out on the water, we were searching with a clean slate and little recent sighting information to go on. Luckily we had our best whale finding technology on board: A vigilant crew with eyes focused on the horizon! There is no better way to find whales. Visually spotting the blow or spout of a whale is the best way to find them. As we searched we keep a keen eye out for the blow of a Humpback Whale. They have been common in the area over the past few months. After searching to the south and west we spotted a few other boats on the horizon. Radio communications with them confirmed that we were coming up on a group of Transient Killer Whales. What a happy surprise!

Killer Whale Calf
Bigg’s Transient Killer Whale Calf keeping up with the group. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales were identified as the T46B’s and had a young calf with them. We visited with the whales for a while enjoying seeing their crescent shaped dorsal fins slicing through the waters surface. We waved goodbye to the family of whales and headed back towards Victoria. Along the way we cruised past Race Rocks Ecological Reserve admiring the Lighthouse from the inside passage. What an amazing trip.

Race Rocks Lighthouse
Race Rocks Lighthouse. Photo by Naturalist Gord.

Afternoon Tours

We sailed south of Victoria, spirits high after the awesome view of orcas in the morning. Our luck seemed to continue as we came across the same pod of killer whales we saw in the morning, the group of T046B’s. We counted at least 8 individuals including the large matriarch with her daughters and grandchildren. One of the young calves is quite notable due to his grey colour. Only a year old, its great to see him getting bigger and popping his head out of the water. We were also excited to see the 3 month old newborn in the group. It also seemed happy as it bobbed along with the rest of its family.

Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales, the T46B’s, including the pale-coloured calf that made headlines a few months ago. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens.

As we watched the pod, we were surprised to see another marine mammal cross their path. Some large male Steller sea lions were spotted right among the orcas. We thought at first that they might try to take a bite, but it seemed that they decided it would be too much effort to bring down such a large male. Instead they continued on, leaving the sea lions to swim back to Race Rocks.

Sea Lions and Killer Whales
Sea Lions watching out for the ocean’s top predator: Marine Mammal eating Killer Whales. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We followed suit, to get a quick look at the seals and sea lions of Race Rocks. It’s always a joy to watch the Steller sea lions, bellowing in each others faces as they fight for space. We made a quick jaunt south of Race Rocks and caught a quick glimpse of a humpback whale making long dives for food. It certainly was a full day, and we made it back to Victoria Harbour feeling lucky to see so much in one day.

Steller Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion at Race Rocks. Photo by Captain Yves. Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
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