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July 21, 2017 – Minke Whales, Seals, Sea Lions & Transient Orcas

4 months ago

Another exciting day on the Salish Sea. In the morning the fleet headed out for a scan of the waters surrounding Victoria to find some wildlife. On our way just south of the big city we encountered 2 minke whales – one was even surface feeding close to the boat! We could see the side of it’s mouth and side of it’s tail flukes as it collected all the critters from the surface of the water. This was a rare moment as these whales are normally very tough to keep track of and one of our most elusive species. After spending some time with these minkes we headed even deeper into the strait with 4 humpback whales. These two pairs were feeding together and doing synchronous dives. It’s amazing to think that there is enough food around to keep these behemoth animals well fed throughout the summer months. We travelled towards Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and were spoiled with 2 male Northern Elephant Seals fighting next to the dock. Harbour Seals spotted the rocks and our breeding pair of bald eagles perched up on the rocks in constant scan of prey. Steller sea lions ambled along the rocky ridges growling at each other and leaping into the water below.

In the afternoon a report came through of possible Transient Orca northbound up the Haro Strait. We went to investigate the report and came upon the T34 and T37 matrilines at Turn Point – where Haro Strait turns into Boundary Pass. We had some great looks at 3 adult whales, 1 juvenile and 2 calves. One of the calves was still small and needed to porpoise almost it’s whole head and back out of the water to be able to take a breath! This made for some awe-ing and ooo-ing on board since this little calf still had it’s infant orange-yellow coloration of it’s white patches. We left the whales excited, comparing photos of the babies and chatting about the importance of the matriarch mothers of these families. A great day with a wide assortment of wild west coast wildlife!

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