Amazing Weather and  Plenty of Whales!

Morning Tours

A beautiful morning was had cruising in the Salish Sea. The water was like glass, with the sun glistening off the surface and clear visibility into the distance.

Humpback Whale
The shiny rubbery skin of a Humpback Whale going down for a dive. Morning Tour. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

A perfect day to be out on a boat as it was, and we had wildlife to look for. We headed south and were lucky to come across a Humpback Whale. It was taking deep dives and must have found a nutrient rich area to feed in.

Humpback Whale
A Humpback Whale’s back above the surface, notice the angular dorsal fin, Morning tour. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

After watching the impressive animal surface between several dives, we decided to see what else we could find. At Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and Lighthouse we were treated with Harbour Seals, California Sea Lions, Pigeon Guillemots, a Bald Eagle and an Elephant seal!

Male Elephant Seal
Male Elephant Seal, Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

If that wasn’t enough, we then had a magical moment west of Race Rocks with a large group of Harbour Porpoises. Notoriously flighty, the captain’s brilliant maneuvering skills had us in a great position to view them feeding. The conditions were so calm and serene that you could hear the porpoises breathe.

Harbour Porpoises
Harbour Porpoises feeding on the morning tour. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Crew and guests were speechless watching the grace of these small cetaceans. A magical morning showcasing the great biodiversity this area has to offer.

Afternoon Tour

After the high of the morning wildlife encounters, the crew were keen to show the next group of budding adventurers what the Pacific North West has to offer. We had a report of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales south of Lopez Island in the United States of America, East of Victoria. We decided to go for it and kept our fingers and toes crossed!

Bigg's Killer Whales
Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales at the surface on the afternoon tour. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Once we passed San Juan Island we took a pit stop at Whale Rock just at the entrance to the San Juan Channel. Steller Sea Lions dominated the rock and their growls certainly put the “lion” in sea lion. There were displays of dominance and a lot of crawling around on their flippers, a great contrast to the smaller Harbour Seals on an adjacent rock flopping about on their bellies.

Steller Sea Lions
Steller Sea Lions seen on the afternoon tour. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

While watching the pinnipeds (a scientific name for seals and sea lions) some larger marine mammals made an appearance. Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales started to travel into the channel between San Juan and Lopez Islands paying particular attention to the coastline of San Juan, perhaps hunting.

Transient Killer Whales
Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales were active on the afternoon tour showing their tail flukes. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

It is believed the families were T137s and T65Bs. The large male in T137s was particularly evident with two notches in its dorsal fin. Another great trip and pretty special to be able to see two species of whale in the same day!

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