It was a calm morning out on the Salish Sea, perfect conditions for spotting whales! Our first travel direction was South and then to the West. Our search proved fruitful, as we came across two Humpback whales. They were arching their backs and flicking their tails up in the air, preparing themselves for deep dives. They were busy feeding and staying under the surface for a considerable period, so we decided to leave them to it and head North in search of more whales.
From a distance, we saw a large group of sea birds feeding on the surface. There must have been a bait ball below meaning there was a good chance Humpback whales could be in the area feeding! We were not disappointed, two Humpback whales were rushing through the water, most likely trying to scoop up some of the small schooling fish for themselves. A pleasant morning spent with four hungry Humpbacks!
Dorsal view of a Humpback Whale. Photo by Naturalist Emma, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
No trip is ever the same and the afternoon tour had us turning East out of Victoria harbor and skirting the suburbs. We rounded the point between Discovery Island and the mainland heading North up the Haro Strait. We had had a tip off that there could be animals up near Sidney Island so it was full steam ahead! The report came up trumps and to the west of D’ Arcy Island we found the Transient Killer whale family the T60s framed with Mount Baker in the background.
They traveled into the channel between D’Arcy and Sidney and we watched closely as they appeared interested in the coastline. The Killer whales curved around the D’Arcy coastline and onto Little D’Arcy Island. The family ended up doing a full loop around both islands, like the ocean’s natural round about. Off the South end of larger D’Arcy we found lots of Pelagic cormorants hanging out on a small rocky outcrop. One was poised “hanging its wings out to dry”, a technique utilized by cormorants to prevent hypothermia after their hunting dives in the cooler waters. Before we headed for home we made a pit-stop at Trial Island to admire the view and the adorable Harbor Seals hanging out on the shoreline.