JULY 12, 2016 – This morning, Captain Ian and his crew headed out to sea on board Marauder IV, our 61 foot Motor Yacht, with plenty of excited passengers. They headed south to Constance Bank in Juan de Fuca Strait and found several Humpbacks feeding in a relatively small area. In a couple of spots there were two or three whales feeding together; diving at the same time and raising their tails in the air simultaneously. In other areas the feed, most likely krill, seemed to be deep as the whales were diving and staying down quite a while. It seemed in yet other areas that the feed was shallow with the whales were scooping them into their massive mouths near the surface. After watching the whales everyone went to Race Rocks to see the wildlife there. As the vessel approached the first thing everyone noticed was the smell! All those seals and seabirds create an aroma that is best approached from upwind. On the rocks there were many Harbour Seals and Seabirds as well as one Steller Sea Lion.
Race Rocks is a winter haul out for two species of Sea Lion – the California Sea Lion and the Steller Sea Lion. The migration of sea lions follows a distinctive path. In the spring, California Sea Lions head south to breeding colonies in Oregon and California, while Steller Sea Lions head north to breeding sites on northern Vancouver Island and further up. Starting in July, both species start returning to Race Rocks where they will spend the winter in relatively protected waters. By the end of September there will be a thousand sea lions spread out on the numerous rocks where they spend the winter. The Sea Lion we saw this morning was a large bull, one of the first to arrive back at Race Rocks.
The afternoon tours were just as entertaining. Our Captain and crew headed out again, this time towards the San Juan Islands where they found some Southern Resident Killer Whales. There were some big males, some smaller females and a few playful calves who were breaching, rolling and tail slapping. Ian also took everyone to see some Seals, a big fat Steller Sea Lion and some Bald Eagles. It was a great day for everyone on board the Marauder.
Aboard the zodiacs, Skipper Mark went out for a second tour in the afternoon and not only saw the Killer Whales again, but also managed to find some Humpback Whales. Everyone was treated to a few breaches and some playful activity from the humpbacks. Mark also found some Seals, Bald Eagles and a little River Otter.
It was another successful day filled with happy passengers, plenty of whales and some fantastic wildlife experiences that our guests won’t soon forget.