We didn’t have to go far this morning before we found some wildlife. The conditions were smooth and a little overcast, the perfect combination for whale watching. Near the coastline of Metchosin we came across Transient Killer Whales. The specific family was the T109As and they were travelling South towards William Head.
They really picked up the speed and were travelling about 13 km/h, something had pricked their interest! They began hunting just off the shore, tail slapping and one of the older individuals brought its head out of the water in a spy-hop.
After viewing the Killer Whales we continued our adventure further South and came across a bait-ball of herring. A really interesting biological phenomenon to watch, a bait ball occurs when small schooling fish gather together in a tight ball as a defense response to predators. In this case we think the larger salmon were chasing the herring which were in fact leaping out of the water in an attempt to escape.
In addition, Pacific Herring is one of the most common prey types for the Humpback whales that frequent the area so it is really positive to see so many of those little fish around. As we continued on wards we passed a hunting Steller Sea Lion and many Harbour Porpoise who were also making the most of the abundance of fish in the area.
A little further on we did indeed come across a Humpback whale! It was going for a couple of hunting dives and gave us a beautiful look at its tail. On the way back North we passed Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, where the T109A Killer whales had made their way into the Reserve to feed some more.
We watched from a distance as the Sea Lions wearily popped their heads out of the water to assess the situation. Our last looks were with a few Harbour Seals and California Sea Lions that were perched on the rocks at the edge of the reserve.
A wonderful trip, rich in wildlife, with multiple different species out finding their breakfast!