Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales, Seals & Ollie the Sea Otter

July 4, 2019


This morning, our covered vessels headed south into Juan de Fuca Strait in search of orcas and humpback whales. The early summer humpback whale encounters have been amazing and today did not disappoint. Several humpback whales were encountered in the waters south of Race Rocks actively foraging for krill and small schooling fish in the nutrient-rich waters. We spent time with several humpback whales including Seabird and Trooper. The humpback whale sightings continue to be astounding. It is great to see the humpback whale population continue to increase since the first humpback whales returned to these waters in the late 1990s.

After our time with the humpback whales. we travelled to Race Rocks. Several harbour seals were hauled out at the low tide, basking in the early morning sun. A highlight of the tour was an Ollie sighting, floating in the bull kelp.

We also encountered a massive male elephant seal ashore on the boat ramp. It was another great morning on the Salish Sea.


Today we headed out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca to look for creatures of the sea! We searched the rocky shoreline as we made our way west towards Race Rocks Lighthouse. As we approached the black and white striped tower, we spotted Harbour Seals resting on the islets, many of the new moms and their tiny pups born within the past two weeks. Being the most abundant marine mammal on the coastline of British Columbia, we have the pleasure of seeing the Harbour Seals on most of our trips.

We started to make our way west and south, but high winds and rough seas resulted in us having to change plans and search for whales in a different area. We decided to head east, with the waves and wind, and a little further south. We were excited to receive a radio call from one of our American whale watching friends who found a humpback in the calmer seas!

We made our way over to the reported location and started to see the misty blows from a new favourite humpback in our area named Mathematician! This humpback has been found several times in the past two weeks in local waters, doing short dives and foraging in circles.

All the humpbacks in the area have been doing short dives, leaving us to conclude that their food source must be fairly shallow in the water column. Mathematician continued to feed, fluke and exhale noisily for the duration of our visit. We stayed out a little longer than usual but it was well worth it to see one of nature’s most beautiful giants of the sea!



This evening we headed west to a place where we had previously seen animals earlier in our day, roughly 12 miles south of Victoria towards Port Angeles. There is a marker on the watermarked as PA buoy, this marks a spot where the water is more shallow.

In these locations, it is where nutrient upwellings are very common. Nutrient upwellings are when the particles from the bottom of the ocean are being churned to the top, keeping the food constant temperatures and plentiful for many animals.

In this case, it was quite a few humpbacks! We were lucky to watch a couple of humpback cruising along and eventually viewed what we know as lunge feeding. This is where the humpback thrusts its body, mouth open, near the surface of the water for food. At some points, we were even able to see the baleen in the humpbacks mouth!

On top of this we were able to identify the humpbacks we were watching as Orion (BCX1251), Trooper (MMY0144), and Pong (MMZ0041). We can identify the individual humpbacks just by looking at the bottom of their flukes while headed on longer dives. This is a great tool to keep track of the whales we have in the area as well as getting to know them as researchers.



aboriginal peopleAboriginal People BCalbino orcaaquariumsbald eaglesBamfieldBC west coastBC whale watchingbe a touristbear watchingbehaviourbigg's killer whalesblack bearBlackberryBlackfishbreedingBritish Columbia Whale Watchingcalifornia sea lionscalvescanada daycaptain mickcaptivitycareerscoast salishCorey VinkCorkycruise adventuresCruiser TourCruiser whale watching toursDall's porpoiseDawn Brancheaudealsdivingdolphinsecholocationelephant sealsfalse killer whaleFamous Killer Whalesfamous orcafeedingfeeding & foragingfirst nationsfirst whale watchingfood chainGlobal Ghost Geargrannygray whalegreat white sharksgrey whaleHarbour AirHarbour porpoisehuman encounters with killer whaleshumans and orcashumpback whalehumpback whalesIkaikiinteresting sh!*InvisibiliaJ PodJ-2J-Pod namesJ-Pod resident orcasJim DarlingK PodKasatkakiller whale factskiller whale vs great white sharkskiller whaleskiller whales huntingkiller whales in the wildL Podl pod orcaslpod orcasLuna the Whalelunge feedingMickMick Millermigration patternsminke whalenatural habitatnaturalistNootka SoundNorthern Elephant Sealnorwegian cruise lineoldest killer whale on earthOrcaOrca Adventuresorca attacks sharkorca communicationorca encountersorca familiesorca feeding habitsorca historyorca kayak videoorca languageorca lessonsOrca photographyOrca SpiritOrca Spirit Naturalistsorca whaleorca whale encountersOrca whale fightOrca Whale Toursorca whalesorcasorcas and humansorcas and peopleorcas in captivityorcas in whytecliff parkorcas of j-podPacific Salmon Press releasePorpoises Vs. Dolphinsport renfrewrace rocksrace rocks ecological reserveRace Rocks LighthouseRachael Merrettresident j-pod orcasresident orcasResident orcas of J-Podresident whalesresidentsresidents orcassalmonscholarshipsea ottersea otterssealionsealsSeaWorldSeaworld OrlandoSeaworld San DiegoSheenah DuclosSightingssouthern resident killer whalesSpringerstaff profilesstellar sea lionssteller sea lionsSummer Whale Watching VictoriasuperpodTaylor ChapdelaineTilikumTillikumtransient orcastransientsTumboUlises Killer WhaleUniversity of AlbertaVacation IdeasVancouverVictoriaVictoria Whale WatchingVictoria whale whatchingWest Coastwest vancouverwhalewhale evolutionWhale Watcher's ScholarshipWhale Watchers Scholarship 2018 Contestwhale watchingwhale watching experienceWhale Watching VancouverWhale Watching Victoriawhaleswhytecliff parkwild renfrewworld's oldest orcaZodiac TourZodiac ToursZodiac whale watching tours
Show more tags

Leaders in responsible Eco-Tourism

Close Menu Book Tour