Whales, Porpoise & Southern Resident Orca Whales
June 24, 2017
The morning trip headed south and found ourselves in the enviable position of having to choose which whales to go to – there were too many Humpback Whales reported nearby to see them all! We started out watching a very sleepy little humpback before moving on to two who were swimming together and were much more active. They treated our passengers to several huge slaps of their long pectoral fins before we headed to Race Rocks to watch Elephant Seals and our very own Ollie the Sea Otter.
The afternoon trip started out very much like the morning but when we stopped to watch what we thought was a Humpback Whale we found ourselves in the middle of a pod of around 25 Harbour Porpoise. This is a very rare occurrence as Harbour Porpoise are normally too scared of the boats to approach but these animals were happily feeding all around us and seemed to be too busy to notice we were there. We then continued on to some amazing Humpback Whale sightings including one animal who swam very close to our boat and slapped his pectoral fin as if he was waving at us! Finally, we ventured to Race Rocks where we watched some large male Elephant Seals fighting with one another in the water.
Our evening sunset tour sped west to check out reports of Southern Resident Killer Whales inbound near Sooke. Between the colourful sunset and these amazingly playful whales we had one of the best trips our naturalists have ever been on! This trip was particularly notable as we watched both J and K pod. J pod had not been sighted in the area for almost a month and K pod hadn’t been seen at all this summer until this night. We saw many breaches, tail slaps and pectoral fin slaps and were also treated to several close passes as the orcas came to check us out. One of these passes included fan favourite whales J-16 (Slick) and her daughter J-50 (Scarlet) who slapped her tiny tail as she passed our boat. It was a trip for the record books to be sure!