Spotting Feeding Whales At Race Rocks Marine Reserve
September 2, 2016
We were lucky on both trips today to see both species of whale most common in our area! This morning we headed out east of Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where we caught up with the T60 matriline of transient killer whales that had been hanging around the area for a few days. This matriline consists of T60 and her 4 offspring – T60C T60D T60E and T60F. After spending time with these orca we spotted a humpback whale! These baleen whales do things almost completely opposite the orca by feeding on some of the smallest animals in the water without using teeth! These whales have plates of baleen to strain out food from the water, which means that some of the smallest animals on the planet are feeding some of the largest. What a great opportunity to explore both ways of feeding! After exploring our Steller and California Sea Lions at Race Rocks we headed back to the Victoria harbor full of whale knowledge and amazement for these animals.
On our 5pm tour luck was on our side. First we explored 3 humpbacks including one individual we call Split Fin – this whale had a negative interaction with a boat and has a split in the dorsal fin. This is a good reminder for boats to slow down when they see a blow and makes this whale easy to identify to talk about with passengers. After exploring Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, we headed west in the backdrop of a colorful sunset to see what else we could find. Sure enough we came across inbound Southern Resident Killer Whales on their way in from a few days up island! We were surrounded by members of L pod including the L11’s – L94 Calypso, L77 Matia, L41 Mega and the calves L113 Cousteau, L121 Windsong and L119 Joy as well as some of the L22’s – L22 Spirit and L89 Solstice! What a sight to see these Chinook salmon hunting orca porpoising through the waves foraging together. What a lucky evening!