Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Grey Whales & More

May 9, 2019

Morning Tour

This beautiful sunny morning we made our way out of the inner harbour into the Juan De Fuca Strait with the goal of finding some whales. The guests had all been briefed on how to help us find what we all wanted to see; they were to look for fire hydrant like spouts on the top of the water, and giant black fins submerging from the depths.

While on our journey in the strait we came across a couple of mylar balloons!

Slowing the boat down and bringing these balloons on board was both a way for the crew to practice in their man overboard skills, as well as do their part in helping to keep the oceans clean. Plastic, in particular balloons, cause a big threat to our precious wildlife. This waste is often mistaken for food by whales, dolphins, fish, and sea birds causing entanglement and death.

With Crescent Bay, Washington in the sights, we talked about Grey Whales, and why we would expect these beasts in the shallow sandy waters of the bay!

After that, we made our way to Race Rocks Ecological Preserve, where we kept our eyes peeled for Ollie, the 1 sea otter. He was found rolling around in the kelp! The rocks are covered with Harbour Seals, Californian and Steller Sea Lions, as well as our largest pinniped off the BC Coast, the Northern Elephant Seal!

The calm waters made for a smooth and enjoyable cruise back to Ogden point!

Afternoon Tour

We boarded the Orca Spirit this afternoon eager to get on the water! Heading east, we passed some big Victoria landmarks. We passed the Oak Bay golf course, Trial Island (with the last manned lighthouse on the Victoria Coast) and Discovery Island (the home to our one Coastal Wolf, Takaya).

We continued heading east, taking us to the southernmost part of the San Juan Islands. These islands, while seemingly close to Vancouver Island belong to Washington. We spent the majority of our trip in American waters!

Our destination was Whidbey Island, just off of the Washington Coast, and about 53 kilometres (33 miles) from our office in the Inner Harbour. On the coast of Whidbey Island, there were reports of up to 3 Grey Whales. Our group got the see one near the 100 meters we are required to stay back from all whales.

Grey Whales are very unique! Not only do they feed off of the creatures that live in the sand on the bottom of the ocean, but unlike other baleen whales, the shape of their breath or blow is in a heart, and they don’t often show their fluke. However, the whale we were with started to show his fluke a few times, which was a happy surprise!

With warmed hearts, and cameras chock-full of photos of our newly made whale friend, we headed back to the Inner Harbour.

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