L Pod’s Crewser Foraging for Chinook Salmon
The Marauder IV left Victoria’s Inner Harbour under sunny skies with calm seas. There were reports of killer whales near San Juan Island so we headed in that direction. Before long, we came across members of L Pod, the largest pod of the Southern Resident Killer Whale groups with 36 whales. The pod was spread out feeding on salmon. We saw a large male named Crewser (L-88) so we stayed with him and got lots of good views and photos. Other killer whales could be seen spread out over a large area. On the way back to Victoria, we stopped at the Chain Islets to look at Harbour Seals, Cormorants and Seagulls with their chicks. The chicks are getting big and some are starting to fly while some hop up and down and flap their wings without actually taking off.

In the afternoon, we headed back to San Juan Island hoping to catch up with L Pod again. Fortunately they were still in the area feeding and had been joined by members of K Pod, the smallest pod with only 19 members. Although there are 5 species of salmon in the waters around Victoria the resident killer whales are primarily hunting Chinook salmon – the largest of the five species. An adult killer whale needs about 90 kilograms (200 pounds) of fish a day – better to be catching 20 and 30 pound fish rather than 5 pound fish. When we got on site, we saw Cappuccino (K-21) a large male from K Pod. After watching Cappuccino for some time, we observed another male in the distance. As we approached the area we saw the second whale was Crewser, the large male we spent time with in the morning. On the way back to the Inner Harbour, we stopped to pull up a piece of Bull Kelp, one of the fastest growing plants in the world with a growth rate of 20 -25 cm (8 – 10 inches) a day. An annual plant, Bull Kelp starts to grow in the spring and dies off in the winter. It is capable of growing to a length of 30 metres in one summer. Overall a great day of whale watching.

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