October is off to a fabulous start with more Killer Whales, as well as dolphins, a Minke whale, seals and what we are 95% sure was a Basking Shark!
The morning tour started with the boats slowing down to check out what all the commotion was about, as several bait balls had formed just south of Oak Bay. When we arrived on scene we found a Minke Whale feeding on the hundreds of fish that had been trapped against the surface of the water. Shortly after, Skippers Geoff and Stu noticed a huge fin (that looked very much like that of a female Orca) pop out of the water and dash across the bait ball. As Orca are rarely, if ever, seen traveling completely alone, and are not usually associated with bait balls (unlike Humpbacks and Minkes) our Skippers are “95% sure” the fin belonged to a Basking Shark that was lunge feeding at the time. Unlike whales, Basking Sharks do not need to break the surface of the water to breathe, so unfortunately this one stayed underneath the water and was not seen again after the initial sighting.
The boats then moved on, heading out to San Juan Island to check out J-Pod. When we found the group, they were fishing very close to a group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins. According to Skipper Geoff, it was a very entertaining show, watching the dolphins “play” with the Orca – who were clearly much more interested in fishing. The dolphins we jumping around the Orca and speeding past them, just like little kids trying to get some attention!
In the afternoon we again spent time with J-pod Orca, including Blackberry, Double stuff and Cappuccino – a member of K-pod traveling with the group. It was a definitely an adventure filled start to October, filled with plenty of amazing wildlife!