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A surprise was in store for us this morning as we exited Victoria harbour, a lone male Transient Killer whale was right outside the gates. T65A was travelling west along the coastline, away from his family pod who was nowhere to be seen. He provided a comical moment when he surfaced in some kelp and worn it on his dorsal fin like a medieval princess hat. To add to the experience, two bald eagle were spotted on the rocky shoreline.

Two bald eagles
A pair of Bald Eagles. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.

After watching this large Killer Whale, we headed south and made a pit stop at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where harbour seals, Steller Sea Lions and California Sea Lions were in abundance. They were galumphing, growling and barking respectively. After a searching loop south, we headed up back to near Albert head with T65A2 again. His behaviour was dangerous, less predictable movements. Then suddenly, the Transient Killer Whale fully breached out of the water. Most on board were startled by the first jump but we were ready for a second. T65A2 leapt out of the water, barrel rolled and splashed into the ocean, quickly followed by a heavy tail slap. A fantastic spectacle to watch and end our morning tour.

Killer whale tail
An Orca whale’s tail. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.


South of Race Rocks we came across our first species: a Humpback whale. It surfaced and fluked in between its deeper, exploratory dives for food. We spotted another Humpback whale in the distance and made our way over to it. As it travelled west, we marvelled at its large size and impressive blows.

Humpback flukes
A Humpback whale’s tail. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We topped our day off with a visit to Race Rocks with Harbour Seals, California and Steller Sea Lions a-plenty. As we arrived back in Victoria harbour, we recapped on the five marine mammal species we were lucky enough to see today. All captivating animals that play their own, unique roles in the marine ecosystem.

Sea lion haul out
Some of the many sea lions at Race Rocks. Photo taken by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
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