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May 11, 2017 – Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve and Chain Islets, Trial Island and Discovery & Chatham Islands

6 months ago

We departed the harbour this morning and transited slightly southeast towards Constance Bank. After a ten minute scan of the flat calm waters in search of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), we turned the vessel towards the soutwest tip of Vancouver Island where Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve is situated off of. It has the second oldest lighthouse on our coastline. Race Rocks is a year-round haulout for harbour seals and a winter haulout site for Steller sea lions and California sea lions. We spotted a single male sea otter in the bull kelp beds. He shifted between sections of the bull kelp beds, rotating from stomach to back as he used his paws to pull himself along some of the kelp. Numerous comorants (pelagic and double-crested) and pigeon guillemots were observed at Race Rocks. Immature bald eagles were also situated on the majority of rocky islets within the ecological reserve. The MV Orca Mist continued west along the shoreline in the Strait of Juan de Fuca with passengers and crew still seeking out cetaceans. The vessel headed back into the harbour via the middle of the strait with passengers and crew still watching for a cetacean specie.

This afternoon we departed the dock on the MV Pacific Explorer and proceeded into a southern direction in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Tidal exchange and an afternoon wind resulted in choppy water to the west, so we proceeded east in search of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). We explored the waters of eastern Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait in search of cetacean species. The MV Pacific Explorer entered Oak Bay and observed harbour seals amoungst the bull kelp beds off the Chain Islets. Numerous Glaucous-winged Gulls, pigeon guillemots, and cormorants (double-crested and pelagic) were observed at the Chain Islets. On route to the Victoria harbour, a mature bald eagle was observed situated on the post of Trial Island.

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