April 3, 2016 – Lighthouse, Eagles, Seals & Sea Lions
April 3, 2016
On a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning, Orca Spirit and our guests cruised onto the Juan de Fuca Strait. Everyone took in the beauty of the snowy-topped Olympic Mountains and the gorgeous rolling hills of Vancouver Island. As we traveled SW on the straight, we were looking for signs of whales- blows, dorsal fins, splashing. After scouring south of Race Rocks, we headed over to this historic lighthouse that is nestled within an Ecological Reserve and Marine Protected Area. We were greeted by noisy sea lions of both the Steller and the California species. Some were playing in the water, where one really young one was making a splash in the water and intrigued everyone on board. There were too really big boys on the rocks making themselves heard amongst the group.
On the other side of the lighthouse, which was built in 1860, we spotted several female Elephant Seals basking in the morning sun on Helicopter Rock. Below them and close to the water for a quick escape, we zoned in on the Harbour Seals that love this area too! Several of the seals looked pretty tubby- babies are coming soon in June! Seals and sea lions were not the only animals occupying the area. An adult and a juvenile Bald Eagles were scoping out the scene atop the little islets. We even got to watch them expand those huge wings and soar into the sky. A few Oyster Catchers, with their bright red beaks and feet were hunting for tasty limpets on the islets as well.
We searched the shorelines for whales, especially transient killer whales, as we made out way back East. As we passed the Esquimalt Harbour, home to Canada’s Pacific naval fleet, we took some time to appreciate the beauty of the Fisgard Lighthouse. This is the oldest lighthouse on the Canadian Pacific, first operational on November 10th, 1860. The white tower is connected to the historic house, where people can visit and check out historical artifacts.
Although we did not discover where the whales were today, we still enjoyed the magic of being on the water. The stunning mountain views and amazing other wildlife that call the North Pacific home made for a memorable day in the Strait of Juan de Fuca!