Gray Whale, Humpback Whale, Seals & Sea Lions
April 29, 2018
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon as we headed out aboard the Orca Mist into the flat calm waters of the Salish Sea. Our tour took us to some popular cetacean foraging areas as we traveled deep south in Juan de Fuca Strait. We saw several harbor porpoise along them as their small, triangular dorsal fins broke the surface of the water as they foraged in pursuit of small schooling fish and other prey.
We continued our tour west past Race Rocks and eventually made it to the Bedford Islets and the very scenic Beecher Bay. We watched a large Steller sea lion frolicking at the surface and saw many harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. Hoping to see more sea lions and still on the lookout for whales, we headed towards Race Rocks. As we neared Race Rocks, we were not disappointed as we spotted a humpback whale!
Passengers and crew alike were thrilled to see this humpback, one of the first returnees to the area after a winter spent in Mexico or Hawaii. The sight of thee amazing animals never gets old. We had a wonderful encounter that ended with it raising its massive tail flukes for the signature photo.
Race Rocks continues to be spectacular. We saw 4 species of pinnipeds again as both species of sea lion, harbour seals, and elephant seals continue to be seen regularly. A highlight was spotting two massive male elephant seals on the boat ramp. On our trip back to Victoria, we had one last surprise as we encountered a gray whale in the tide rips northeast or Race Rocks. Gray whales are infrequently seen in the Victoria area and it was a thrill to see such a rare treat!