baleen whale
J Pod in the Salish Sea

August 25, 2016 – It was a lovely sunny morning, and it was already getting warm as Marauder IV steamed out of the harbour to check out reports of killer whales south of Discovery Island. Before we even left the harbour, we found whales! There was a juvenile humpback whale feeding right by the Ogden Point breakwater. The little fellow was probably on its first trip south without its mom, and may have been following the shoreline to find its way to the open ocean. After stopping to watch the youngster for a while, we continued out to find all of J Pod making their way past Discovery Island slowly heading toward San Juan Island. San Juan is their favourite feeding ground, and they often transit past Victoria and have a little snooze. Sure enough, we left them resting as we headed back toward the Chain Islets to check out the seals, nesting seabirds and talk about the amazing kelp forest!

This afternoon, we headed back out and found J Pod, as predicted, munching their way south along San Juan Island, spread out over several miles in a feeding configuration. We followed Doublestuff (J34) and his little brother Cookie as they foraged for salmon along shore. Turning to head back to Victoria, we came across a rare treat – a minke whale (baleen whale)! Minke whales are common in this area, but not often found because they can be tricky – they don’t show a blow when they surface, and they can be very unpredictable. The pair of minkes we found were lunge feeding – coming up to the surface with their mouths full to collect small fish near the surface. Happy with our day of surprise baleen whales, we headed back to Victoria to arrive right on time at the dock.

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