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August 19, 2017 – Transient Killer Whales

1 month ago

10am Tour

In was another beautiful day in the capital of British Columbia and guests were excited to get on the water to see if we could find the giants of the ocean- whales! Well whales were found as we cruised the blue as we sprang upon a family of transient killer whales! We were able to use the big nicks from some of their dorsal fins to identify them as the T37B family.

This is a big mammal hunting orca family with 6 family members, let by a very doting and intelligent mother! The transients live in smaller family groups to avoid detection by their prey- harbour seals, sea lions and porpoises. As adults orcas eat about 2-3 seals per day, so lots of their time is spent hunting. Everyone in the family shares the catch, with family members gently passing pieces of food to others.

The big male in the group is vert interesting as his dorsal fin is very skinny with really big nicks near the top of it very noticeable! We even got to see great surfacings of the families youngest orca, small when surfacing by it’s mother and siblings.

Black and whites were entered in the log as seen and loved by everyone on board! Don’t forget that you can adopt a member of the T37B family by visiting the Adoption website of the Vancouver Aquarium at: http://killerwhale.vanaqua.org/.

2pm Tour

The world of whale watching is a dynamic place with every trip promising to be different and unique. We had a new report of transient killer whales, different from the family we seen in the morning. We needed to cruise east until we reached Haro Strait, where we then headed north. The Gulf and San Juan Islands are stunning with their brown cliffs and rich green trees contrasting against the deep blue waters of the sea.

But no island or stretch of sea can outdo the beauty of orcas. We spotted the T046 family, orcas that only hunt mammals. Despite their reputation of being ferocious hunters, they are very family oriented animals, often traveling in very close formation. Today was not different as this family traversed the shallow waters, searching for family dinner.

The littlest and most precious member of the family delighted guests and crew alike, as he or she spy-hopped! This is when a whale lifts their head vertically out of the water to have a look around at what is happening about the surface. A bunch of smiling faces and cheers greeted this little one. Orcas have incredible vision, with the ability to have binocular vision when they look straight down, or straight up when they swim with their belly to the surface. They can also see in colour and have the same visual acuity as the cat family. Not bad for an animal that spends most of it’s time in the dark sea!

We left the whales to do what whales want to do, our cameras filled with pictures and our hearts full of awe. It is very special to be able to watch nature’s top ocean predator so close to where we live. We find great joy in sharing these experiences with our guests, and reminding everyone that we all need to be a voice for the animals of this world. We need to take care of our oceans so that our beautiful neighbors have a safe and healthy place to life.

View more incredible tour photos here.

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