July 11, 2016 –
Today started out with sunshine and calm seas. This morning the Marauder IV headed west towards Race Rocks, an ecological reserve in Juan de Fuca Strait with abundant wildlife. There were plenty of Harbour Seals on the rocks and a Bald Eagle looking for young seabirds still in their nests. Just off one of the small islets we saw Harry, the lone Sea Otter that lives at Race Rocks. Sea Otters were completely wiped out in British Columbia in the 1700s and 1800s – one Sea Otter pelt was worth a year’s salary to a common sailor so they took every one they could find. In the 1960’s Sea Otters were re-introduced to the west coast of Vancouver Island and since then have been spreading north and south. Harry is the only one to have made it as far south as Race Rocks. From Race Rocks, we headed south to the middle of Juan de Fuca Strait. We found six or seven Humpback Whales feeding near Constance Bank. As we drifted with engines off, three of the whales surfaced together not far from the Marauder. We spent quite a while watching these graceful whales as they rolled and slapped their pectoral fins and tails on the surface of the water. Quite a morning.
In the afternoon, the Marauder IV headed east towards San Juan Island in Washington State. Captain Ian had heard that there were Orcas traveling along the west side of the island. When we got there we found members of J-pod swimming north. Shortly after arriving, we saw Doublestuf (J34) a large male. Doublestuf travels with his mother Oreo (J22) and his brother Cookie (J38). After some time with the Orcas, we traveled to the Victoria waterfront to investigate reports of Humpback Whales. Sure enough there were several whales feeding on krill. We also saw a Harbour Porpoise that quickly swam away.
Overall it was a great day with many whale sightings. If you would like to see more images from this day, visit our Facebook Page!