October 18 2016 – As the early morning clouds cleared we sped out across the glassy open waters of the Strait of Juan De Fuca in search of whales. It was an absolutely beautiful morning with the snow capped Olympic mountains ahead of us and several seals popping up to watch the boat go by. Suddenly we saw the blow of a humpback whale on the horizon! And then two more! As we drew closer we saw tail flukes disappear beneath the waves as they dove to feed. Surfacing a short distance away the sound and splash of fin slaps resonated across the water as we delighted in watching these humpbacks dive and play. Travelling northwards we were thrilled at the sight of several shy harbour porpoise playing across the far wake of the boat!
Continuing our return across the Strait we stopped at a small islet group on the south-eastern tip of Victoria’s peninsula known as the Chain Islands. Designated an ecological reserve in 1979 these islands are home to large seabird rookeries, with hundreds of double crested and pelagic cormorants, and glaucous winged gulls nesting here each year. The shallow waters around the Chain Islands are also home to forests of bull kelp. These very fast growing ‘annual’ kelp forests create sheltered habitats and provide food for numerous marine animals including harbour seals, several of which we saw playing amongst the fronds!