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June 5, 2017 – Orcas, Seals & Sea Lions

3 weeks ago

This morning we left the harbour searching the south for the blows of a big humpback whale. These animals are coming back into the Juan de Fuca Strait looking for food like sand lance and krill. We found this particular humpback feeding like crazy just on the other side of Race Rocks. Humpback whales can take in 20,000 L of water and food in just one mouthful! It’s important that these animals feed as much as possible when they return to BC from either Hawaii or Mexico after breeding or giving birth, because they haven’t eaten anything since they left in the fall and winter! This can add up to about 17 tons of body weight. They will spend the entire summer gaining that weight back to turn around and migrate again the following year. After watching this humpback gobble up food for about 45 minutes we headed into Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where we saw both California and Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and a couple young male Northern Elephant Seals jousting with each other at the bottom of the dock! A great morning with our west coast wildlife!

In the afternoon we headed in the opposite direction – northwards up Haro Strait towards Pender Island. We met up with the T65A family group of Bigg’s (mammal eating) killer whales around the Turn Point Lighthouse. We realized very quickly that the whales were all grouped up traveling slowly in the same direction. They were sleeping! The 5 whales stuck close to each other the whole encounter, making regular surfacings which made for some great photos! This group consists of T65A and her 4 offspring, including a fairly newly sprouted male. T65A2 was born in 2004, which makes him 13 years old and this is about the time in life when the male killer whale fin begins to straighten out and grow tall. By the time we had to leave, the whales had woken up and started swimming quickly towards Boundary Pass, which was perfect timing for us to say goodbye and head back home. A beautiful, calm day for an encounter with a sleepy killer whale family!

View more photos from our tours here.

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