Captain’s Blog

Winter Whale Watching

February 16, 2018

Despite it not being our peak season, we have been running several zodiac tours throughout the past few weeks. Although whales frequent our waters less this time of year, we have enjoyed the presence of both humpbacks and transient killer whales, along with a wide variety of other oceanic critters who call the beautiful shores of British Columbia home.

The past few days have brought us much needed blue skies and sunshine, and along with it, remarkable experiences on our zodiac tours. Over the weekend we were delighted to hear of several killer whales transiting past Victoria. The cool air and sunshine greeted us as we set off to catch a glimpse of these apex predators. As we approached Discovery Island, several blows popped up right along the shore line. As we investigated, the once brown appearing nearby rocks were very much awake and barking with Stellar sea lions. A large male can surpass 1000kg in weight, and are too one of the most impressive predators we observe on our tours. Despite a jaw set similar to that of a grizzly bear, these sea lions on occasion fall prey to transient killer whales.

However these events are rare, and it appeared that after a brief check along the rocks, the whales continued north into the Haro straight. Using unique markings called saddle patches, along with unique scrapes or cuts along the dorsal fin allows us to identify the whales. Sometimes this can be quite challenging, but lucky enough for us today, the female in the pair has a very noticeable and unique notch in her fin. The t10’s comprise only of one female, and her last remaining son. We have also had wonderful encounters with Bald Eagles, Harbor seals, Elephant seals, Stellar and California Sea lions and even a sea otter at our local ecological reserve, Race Rocks. Our zodiac skipper has described this to be his favorite time of year to check out the Race Rocks lighthouse and all of its amazing wildlife.

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