Porpoises, Humpbacks, and Orcas Oh My!
Orca whale tail slap. Photo taken by Captain Yves with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

MORNING TOUR

We made our way south from Victoria Harbour, marveling at the calm water and the completely clear skies. We skittered around Race Rocks, waving at the lighthouse as we went by. There were numerous harbour porpoises poking their small dorsal fins through the calm waves. These cute little animals get no longer than 2 meters, making them difficult to see. However they showed up in droves, popping up all around the boat for quick little hellos.

Humpback whale tail
Humpback whale going for a deep dive. Photo taken by Captain Yves with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We continued west until we spotted blows in the distance. A humpback whale was searching for food in the Juan de Fuca Strait, flaring its large tail flukes. We managed to get a good view at the underside of its tail and the distinct patterns and markings of white and dark grey. Every humpback has a unique combination and pattern on their tail making it possible to identify individuals with a good view. We determined that this individual was named Split Fin, a humpback who has been coming to the Salish Sea since 2006. With tiny porpoises and a huge humpback, we made our way back to Victoria after a great morning.

Whale flukes
The humpback whale “Split Fin” showing off its tail flukes. Photo taken by Captain Yves with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

AFTERNOON TOUR

After a great morning we set sail with high hopes to see more wildlife in the afternoon. We head straight south in the direction of Port Angeles until we stumbled on a fantastic sight. A pod of killer whales had just recently made a kill, and were swimming all over the place! As they fed they displayed amazing behaviours, slapping their tail on the water, lobbing their tail into the air, and bringing their heads out of the water. Things only got better as they increased these playful behaviours. They clearly were having a blast!

Killer whale
Orca whale showing off its head. Photo taken by Captain Yves with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We saw them spyhop as they brought their entire heads straight up into the air, rolled at the surface. We saw them roll at the surface, showing off their pectoral fins. And then, as a particularly awesome sight, we saw them completely breach, throwing their entire bodies into the air! They made huge splashes as they brought their massive weight down onto the water, it was an awesome sight! It’s not every day that we get to see such an amazing display. Naturally, it was all smiles as we made our way back to Victoria, feeling lucky to have such a wonderful day!

Killer whale tail slap
Orca performing a tail slap. Photo taken by Captain Yves with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
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