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Morning Tours

We set out on an amazing sunny day with a boat full of eager passengers. As we headed South out of the Harbour towards the Olympic mountains, the vista was magnificent. The seas were calm, like a lake. After a short run South, we spotted some blows in the distance. As we slowed and approached we saw multiple blows. We had seen two Humpback Whales in the area over the last few days. The whales could be the same ones.

As we watched that it looked like it may be three whales. We could only confirm that number when all three surfaced at the same time. They were traveling side by side making it difficult to tell if one might be surfacing in quick succession or if it was multiple whales.

Humpback Whales
Three Humpback Whales hanging around together. Photo by Captain Yves, Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

As we watched, the whale synchronized their dives. It was magical to see them dive in sequence, 1… 2… 3…

We left those whales to then check out some activity further South, closer to Port Angeles on the American side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

There we found Big Mama, another Humpback Whale! We knew it was Big Mama from the identifiable white patches on the underside of her tail. She has been seen in the area the last few days. She got her name because she has brought a large number of calves back to BC waters over the years making her a very successful mom. Humpback Whales breed and give birth in warm tropical water near Hawaii and Mexico. They then make the long journey to colder Northern waters every spring and summer to feed in the productive waters off the coast of BC and Alaska.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whales were abundant today! Photo by Captain Yves, Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Big Mama was travelling alone but she was doing some interesting feeding behaviour. She would dive the surface in quick succession. Each time she would surface turning 90 degrees to her previous direction. From her movements we could also tell she was also rolling her body to the side while underwater. It is likely there was a school of fish that she was feeding on. Her circular diving pattern may have been to corral the fish into a tighter ball to feed on.

Afternoon Tours

In the afternoon we were fortunate to find the trio of Humpback Whales a second time. The whales were continuing to move slowly doing predicable five minute dives. After spending some time watching the trio we decided to head over to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.

At Race Rocks we were able to see the variety of wildlife our coast has to offer. Harry the Sea otter was very active today, diving and swimming among the kelp.

Harry the Sea Otter
Harry the Sea Otter was swimming and diving for food. Photo by Captain Yves, Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We also saw several Harbour Seals resting on the rocks. Interestingly there was a lone Sea Lion resting at Race Rocks as well. Most of the Sea Lions are currently out a sea fishing. A few months ago race rocks was covered in Sea Lions, this migration to and from the area is seasonal and so we expect the Sea Lions to return in a few months.

Sea Lion
A Sea Lion resting high above the water line, Photo by Captain Yves, Image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Overall it was a magical day on the water with lake-like ocean conditions. It is amazing to see so much wildlife so close to the city of Victoria.

For all the photos from today’s tours check out the album here.

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