September 5, 2016 – Today the Marauder IV left Victoria harbour under cloudy skies. We headed south into Juan de Fuca Strait. After traveling south for a while we turned west towards Race Rocks. Just east of Race Rocks, we found two Humpback whales feeding. After watching them for a time we saw some activity further out in the strait so headed that way. When we got there we saw it was Dall’s Porpoises – the fastest cetacean on Earth capable of swimming 55 km/hr. They were swimming fast, breaking the surface frequently – probably chasing fish near the surface. Leaving the porpoises we saw another blow in the distance so proceeded towards it. It was another humpback – this time a juvenile. After getting good views of this whale we headed for Race Rocks, an ecological reserve with plentiful marine life. There were hundreds of sea lions of two different species – Steller Sea Lions and California Sea Lions – jostling for position on the rocks.
Race Rocks is a winter haul-out for both species and by the end of October, there will be a thousand or more sea lions on the rocks. A very noisy, crowded and smelly place. Another resident of the waters around Race Rocks is a lone Sea Otter who has been living there for a couple of years. We saw him floating on his back in the middle of a kelp forest cleaning his fur – an important function as his fur is the only insulation against the cold North Pacific water. After having a good look at the animals on and around Race Rocks we headed home after a great morning on the water.