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A breezy day on the water made for an exciting tour. The sun was shining and passengers were keen to see the wonderful wildlife we showcase on our tours. In the morning we ventured to the East and North catching up with some Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales. It was a magical experience watching these charismatic whales. In the afternoon we headed west in search of something different, as the whales from the morning were travelling out of our searchable range.

A heard of harbour seals in Victoria BC.
A herd of harbour seals saying hi to a a whale watching tour in Victoria, British Columbia. Photo taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We were able to spot some Harbour Seals on the rocks near Pedder Bay. These marine mammals are fairly common in our region. In the past however, Harbour Seals were not so abundant due to hunting. Since the ban on hunting marine mammals was put in place, Harbour Seal populations have bounced back. As Harbour Seals are a substantial food resource for Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales, this has also resulted in their increased wellbeing.

A Sea Otter lays in the kelp
A Sea Otter lays in kelp just south of Victoria, Britsh Columbia.

As we carried on our search we came across one of the cutest marine mammals on our tours. Among the kelp at Race Rocks ecological reserve we found a fuzzy little creature: A Sea Otter!

Urchin and Anemones
Red Sea Urchins, Photo by Green Fire Productions is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sea Otters are guardians of kelp forests because they keep sea urchins in check. Sea Urchins are voracious seaweed eaters. They can completely clear kelp forests by eating through the stems of kelp. Sea Otters must eat a lot to keep up with their high metabolism; one of their favourite foods is Sea Urchin, despite all the spines. By keeping the population of Sea Urchins down, Sea Otters protect the kelp forest from overgrazing and ensure it remains as a habitat for fish and other sea creatures.

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