It was another glassy day on the water. There was barely any wind and the low clouds from previous days were lifting giving a dramatic sky as a backdrop for our wildlife adventure. Before long we came across a group of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales. The whales were behaving playfully and changing directions frequently. There was a very young calf with them which was cool to see.
Just behind the Killer Whales we spotted a very different looking animal. In contrast to the active Killer Whales, these whales were stealthy. It was a pair of Humpback Whales. They were swimming slowly and barely bringing their backs above the water surface, as if to avoid drawing attention to themselves. Possibly for good reason, Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales hunt other marine mammals and Humpbacks often show scars from encounters with these carnivorous whales.
It was unusual to see Humpback and Transient Killer Whales in such close proximity.
The afternoon was similar to the morning tour. We encountered Bigg’s Transient Killer Whales first. Again they were very active. After spending some time with them we headed over to see some Humpbacks nearby.
As we approached we discovered it was three Humpback Whales travelling together. They were behaving unusually. One was swimming very flat to the surface of the water and swishing its tail. As we watched the whale began to make a whistling sound each time it surfaced! The sound was something none of the crew had heard before. It is very unusual for Humpback Whales to make vocalizations in this region. They are known for ‘singing’ in tropical waters to attract mates, but here up north they are focused on feeding, so the vocalization was a first for all of us on board. We were in awe and watched the trio on a few more dives.
Then, in the distance, we spotted two more Humpbacks going for a dive. The ocean conditions were so calm and tranquil that the water surface was a bright light blue colour. The dark silhouette of the whale tails stood out very well against the light backdrop. We ventured over to the whales and had them all to ourselves.
The tour was already jam packed with wildlife so we ventured back towards Victoria, keeping our eyes open for any other wildlife. Low and behold we came across some more Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales. These whales even treated us to a spyhop, where the whale poked it’s head straight out of the water. What an amazing day!