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Every day is a search; we don’t know exactly where the wildlife is until we find it! A little bit of fog added an extra challenge to our search on the Salish Sea. But it didn’t stop us from having a great time.

The morning tour headed for the West in search of wildlife. A stop at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve yielded some close views of some Seals, Sea Lions and even some Northern Elephant Seals. This is the most northern rookery for Northern Elephant Seals.

Harbour Seal
Harbour Seal swimming. Photo by Captain Yves, Taken with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.

In addition to the variety of marine mammals at Race Rocks we were treated to a variety of marine birds, including the common Glaucous-winged Gulls and the more rare Red-necked Pharalope. The diversity of life at Race Rocks is a testament to the amount of nutrients in the cold waters that support all sorts of marine life, from small plankton all the way up to large whales.

Red necked Phalarope
A different, rarer bird to see, the Red Necked Phalarope. Photo by Captain Yves, Taken with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.

In the afternoon we ventured east this time, searching towards Discovery Island. Nearby we were able to find a Minke Whale. Minke Whales are a medium size baleen whale, cousins of sorts to the more famous Humpback Whales. Minke Whales are resident in our waters, hanging out in our waters year round. The reason they are not very well known is that they are very elusive and shy. They spend brief moments at the surface, have a small blow and rarely jump out of the water. They also tend to surface in unpredictable patterns meaning they don’t hang out in the same area for long as we watch them.

Minke Whale
Minke Whale. Photo by Oregon State University is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After a full day on the water we returned to Victoria Harbour reminiscing on the variety of wildlife we saw, from the very large Minke whale to the very small Red-necked Pharalope. What a great day!

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