K-Pod Orcas, Humpback Whale & Race Rocks
September 21, 2018
We set out on Friday morning into clear and calm water conditions, perfect for spotting wildlife. We headed southwest into the Strait of Juan de Fuca in search of humpback and killer whales. It was early in the morning and there were yet to be any reported sightings so we all had our eyes peeled looking for blows and fins.
About a half an hour into our journey we began to see the large black fins of killer whales in the distance. As we slowly approached a young male surfaced suddenly and showed us a flash of his saddle patch. The saddle patch, which is like a fingerprint on every whale, told us that this was K-37 (also known as Rainshadow). Rainshadow as a very distinctive saddle patch, making him relatively easy to identify. The other members of K-pod swirled around us, some very close to shore and others fishing in open waters. We caught the Resident pod in a good mood, many of the members were breaching, spy hopping, tail and pectoral fin slapping. Through photo identification we were able to ID 8 of the pod’s 19 members: K-37 (Rainshadow), K-26 (Lobo), K-33 (Tika), K-22 (Sekiu), K-44 (Ripple), K-20 (Spock), K-27 (Deadhead), and K-42 (Kelp).
As we traveled back towards Victoria we passed through Race Rocks ecological reserve to see the local seals and sea lions. We also spotted Gherkin, a young humpback whale that is frequently seen in the area feeding and socializing with older whales.