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The past few days have provided Humpback Whale sightings and today was no different.

Morning Tours

Cool fog greeted us as we left Victoria Harbour, a relief from the warm sunshine in the city. Our initial plan was largely based on the visibility, so we decided to stay in the clear as much as possible to optimize our searching capabilities. Our route took us South and East towards Trial Island and its Lighthouse. Some cheeky Harbour Seals were lounging up on the rocks and the lighthouse was picturesque in the sun. We continued East and passed around Discovery Island when the captain got good news of two Humpbacks four miles from Victoria Harbour.

Humpback Whale Foggy
A Humpback Whale (a type of baleen whale) has a very distinct hump on its back topped by an angled dorsal fin. Photo by Naturalist Laas. Photo taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The whales were positioned in an area of fog but luckily some other whale watching boats were warming them up for us. While waiting for the whales to surface a Steller Sea Lion was even looking to make itself the center of attention!

Humpback Whale tail
Before a dive a Humpback Whale will lift its tail out of the water. Photo by Naturalist Laas. Photo taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The whales were identified as a male and female Humpback: Raptor and Heather. They proved to be in a pleasant mood, surfacing lots and giving us a good look at their tail. Catching sight of their blow in the fog also had a mysterious quality to it! A foggy and happy morning.

Zodiac Trial Island
Our Zodiac, RipTide, with Trial Island in the background. Photo by Captain Yves.

Afternoon Tours

After the success of the morning Humpbacks we were keen to find them again. The fog was just as thick so hugging the coastline was a good option. This time we headed South and to the West. It proved to be a sensible option.

The sun broke through in places on the coastline giving way to a beautiful hazy effect enhancing BC’s natural beauty. Harbour seals were hauled out and we managed to get a good viewing in. We pressed along poking our noses into Beecher Bay, but the larger marine mammals were not home. Hedging our bets, we embraced the fog and headed south into it. Unfortunately, nothing suspicious was spotted but the fog was lifting just in time for our arrival at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and Lighthouse.

best wildlife photos
Harry the Sea Otter hangs out in some Bull Kelp, Photo by Captain Yves.

We finally had sunshine not to mention more harbour seals, some California & Steller Sea Lions, Pigeon Guillemots and perhaps Race Rocks’ most famous resident: Harry the Sea Otter lounging in some kelp. Our tenacity paid off with a diverse afternoon full of wildlife.

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