August 17, 2016 – Another sunny day in Victoria as the Marauder IV left the harbour with a boat full of excited passengers. There were reports of killer whales east of Victoria along the westside of San Juan Island in Washington State so we headed in that direction. When we got there we saw it was K-Pod one of three resident killer whale pods in the waters off southern Vancouver Island. K-Pod is the smallest of the three pods, with 19 whales. J-Pod has 29 whales and L-Pod is the largest with 36. Although J and L-Pods both had calves born in 2015 the last calf born in K-Pod was Ripple (K44) in 2011. We saw Cappuccino (K21) a large male who was travelling with another adult male named Lobo (K26) and Lobo’s sister Yoda (K36). We spent lots of time with these three as well as seeing others of K-Pod.
In the afternoon, we headed west towards Race Rocks, a group of rocks home to Sea Lions, Seals, a Sea Otter and many Seabirds. Race Rocks is a winter haul out for Steller Sea Lions and California Sea Lions. They started arriving in July and by October, there will be a thousand Sea Lions on the rocks. The rocks will be a very noisy, crowded and smelly place. We arrived at Race Rocks to a chorus of barking and growling as the Sea Lions jostled for position on the rocks. The California Sea Lions ‘bark’ while the Steller Sea Lions have a deep growl. Leaving Race Rocks we headed south into Juan de Fuca Strait to look for Humpback Whales. We soon found one but it dove shortly after we arrived. While we were waiting for the whale to surface, we got a report that there were Transient Killer Whales east of our location so headed towards them. Before long we caught up with them and saw they were T46s including T46E a large male. They seemed to be milling around one area moving back and forth as if finishing off a meal. After getting many good views of these Transients we headed back to Victoria. On the way, we spotted two more Humpbacks. It was Big Mama and her calf. Big Mama has had 6 calves in southern waters since 2003 – bringing them all back to the feeding grounds in Juan de Fuca Strait. After getting a good look at the two large whales they dove, raising their huge tails high in the air. We returned to Victoria happy with a great day of whale watching.