Frolicking Whales

August 15, 2016 – The Marauder IV left the harbour under sunny skies and headed south into the Strait of Juan de Fuca searching for humpback whales. There were no reports of whales first thing in the morning so boats were heading out in different directions looking for whales.   After a short time, we saw a humpback blow in the distance and headed towards it.  By the time we got to the area the whale dove and we waited for it to surface.   While waiting, we heard a report of killer whales west of Race Rocks ecological reserve so headed in that direction.  On the way, we stopped at Race Rocks to look at the many Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lions and Harbour seals.  After a lot of good views and lots of photographs we headed west again and soon met killer whales of K-Pod swimming east towards Victoria. K-Pod is one of three resident pods that spend their summers in the waters around Victoria.  Resident killer whales eat only fish and primarily Chinook salmon.  One group that we watched for a while included Scoter (K25), Tika (K33) and Tika’s uncle, Rainshadow (K37).   Travelling in small groups and swimming relatively fast K-Pod was obviously on their way to feeding grounds.   We returned to Victoria Harbour with lots of good views of the whales and lots of memories and photos.

In the afternoon the Marauder headed east towards Haro Strait where there were transient killer whales reported. Transients eat marine mammals including seals, sea lions, porpoises and dolphins.  We soon caught up with transient whales in the pod T65A.  The whales were close to shore and milling around as if finishing off a meal.  After 30 minutes or so the whales grouped together and headed north.  At one point, they dove in unison and after quite a while under water surfaced close to the Marauder.  On the way back to Victoria we stopped just north of Chatham Island and pulled a piece of Bull Kelp aboard the boat so we could have a good look at it and talk about the many uses that we have for kelp.  After brave passengers had their first taste of Bull Kelp we headed back to Victoria.  Overall a great day with whales in the sunshine.

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