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Today was a warm breezy day, that brought us a variety of large birds in addition to some charismatic marine mammals.

Our zodiac, RipTide, and covered vessel, Marauder IV, both headed west in the morning.

RipTide followed the coast, checking out Albert Head, William Head, and Whirl Bay for bears, birds, and deer while keeping an eye towards the horizon for signs of marine mammals.

Turkey Vulture Soaring
Turkey Vulture Soaring over Whirl Bay, Photo by Naturalist Stefania

At Whirl Bay we saw several Turkey Vultures soaring overhead. These large raptors have dark feathers, and a 1.7 m (5.5 feet) wingspan. We were even able to see their red featherless heads.

The Bluff
The Bluff the Eagle was sitting on. Photo by Naturalist Stefania.

A little bit further down the coast we noticed something white and black on top of a tall islet. As we approached, it became clear that it was a large Bald Eagle. The eagle had its back to the breeze which ruffled up its feathers in the most majestic way.

Bald Eagle
A Bald Eagle on the morning Zodiac tour. Photo by Naturalist Stefania

After taking a look at the old restored Trap Shack on a bluff in East Sooke Park, we took a tour of the open water making our way towards Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Along the way a few Harbour Porpoises made a brief appearance! As usual they didn’t stay around for long. As one of the smallest marine mammals in our waters, it is understandable they are so shy.

At the base of the iconic lighthouse at Race Rocks we saw two kinds of sea lions. Large ‘blonde’ Steller Sea Lions and the smaller dark-coloured California Sea Lions were lounging on the rocks together. We could hear both the distinctive roar of the Steller Sea Lions and the bark of the California Sea Lions.

Steller Sea Lion
Steller Sea Lion at Race Rocks, Photo by SpringTide Crew, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Passengers arrived back at the Inner Harbour in Victoria, refreshed from their trip on the open ocean, and ready to explore the city on such a beautiful sunny day.

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