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June 7, 2017 – Humpback Whales, Orcas & Seals

5 months ago

In the morning, we left the harbour and headed east – following the Victoria coastline. We passed by the Trial Island lighthouse – one of the last manned lighthouses in our area – and cruised by Discovery Island, hoping for a glimpse of the lone wolf that calls the island home. We came upon a pair of sleepy humpbacks just off the shore of San Juan Island. These animals were getting in some much needed rest, surfacing about once a minute. This meant we got to see them multiple times before heading off to find some more animals. Over by D’Arcy Island, we found another humpback who was working hard to gobble up some food. As they feed by scooping up mouthfuls of water and filtering it, this meant the whale was taking some longer, deeper dives. Everyone on board was graced with the beautiful humpback tail fluke as these dives were made. A great morning of humpback watching!

In the afternoon, we headed out of the harbour and back out to San Juan Island – but on the south side. Here in the middle of Haro Strait we were lucky to see a large group of transient, or Bigg’s killer whales! There were actually two different groups of orcas on the water this afternoon – the T124As and the T101s. The T124As are one of the largest transient pods that we see in our area, and include at least ten different animals! The T101s refer to a mother and three large adult males which are likely all her sons. T102, which is one of the biggest fully grown adult male transient orcas that we see around Victoria, was travelling right in the middle of the T124As. As transient killer whales tend to mate outside of their pod to avoid inbreeding, we think he was looking to take a lady out for a good time this afternoon. After spending over an hour with these gorgeous animals, we headed back to Victoria. On our way back, we stopped in at the Chain Islands – a group of small rocky islets filled with Pacific Harbour Seals and a multitude of local seabirds!

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