The sun was shinning down on our covered vessel, Marauder IV as we left Victoria harbor. We traveled South and West on water as flat as glass; the Salish Sea more closely resembled a lake than ocean water. When approximately parallel with Church Rock, off the coast of Metchosin, we spotted the tell tale sign of whales in the area: blows piercing the air.
The exhales belonged to Transient Killer Whales (Orca). They too were travelling west headed to the Pacific Ocean. We watched them travel relatively quickly. A big bull was very evident, along with adult females and little ones to boot, the T77 family! In the distance we spotted something else of interest, a large blow belonging to a Humpback Whale, special to see these two species of whale in such close vicinity.
The Humpback was enjoying deep dives and fluking, which the crowd enjoyed to see! While our fortune was flying we decided to try our luck with more wildlife at Race Rocks and boy was it out in force. We were greeted to the Ecological Reserve by the telltale squeak of Oyster catchers foraging on the rocky coastline. At the base of the boat ramp dwelled one of the largest pinnipeds, a Northern Elephant Seal. It was bathing in the shallow water and even popped its head up to have a look as we passed. Next up to add to our list of species was Harry the Sea Otter relaxing on his back in the Kelp forest followed by two Bald Eagles perched on the rocks. We made our way back to Victoria reveling in the variety of wildlife we saw.
The crew was excited and hopeful as we headed out for our afternoon tour knowing that there were animals out there. Our good fortune from the morning carried through and we came across a couple of Humpback Whales. The first whale we spotted was a juvenile carrying out, what appeared to be, side feeding as it was spending a lot of time at the surface.
We decided to leave the younger whale to its lunch and drew our attention towards an adult Humpback Whale. It was diving often but only averaging 4 minutes or so underneath the water so this provided us all with fantastic views of its tail multiple times. There were rumbles on the radio of animals coming in from the Pacific Ocean so we thought we might as well head over to check it out.
Transient Killer Whales were coming in! In fact, they were the exact same whales we had seen travelling out into the ocean this morning. We expect they headed there to grab a bite to eat and were now coming back to the comfort of the Salish Sea. Another double whale species trip!