Victoria Whale Watching Report: Killer Whales including Young Calf
July 7, 2019
Today we left the harbour in search of Cetaceans (Whales, porpoises and dolphins). As we traveled North towards Harro Strait we had a potential sighting.
We cruised through the surrounding islands educating on the natural history. We soon discovered one lone tall black fin.
It was an orca!
The crew identified this orca as T077A. This particular orca is a trouble maker in our surrounding waters. He tends to find himself tangled in crap traps and even plays with sailboat anchor lines. We watched this male as he cruised through the surrounding waters. He is relatively easy to identify based off his gash mark taken out of his dorsal fin.
He is identified as the Biggs ecotype of orca. “Biggs” comes from a Canadian marine biologist that was recognized for studying killer whales and conducted the first population census of the animals. His work in wildlife photo-identification enabled the study of individual killer whales, their travel patterns, and their social relationships in the wild.
We left this orca and and then got lucky and even spotted some humpback whales on the way back home to the Victoria harbour!
Even with the rain this afternoon, our spirits were high and we were excited to get on the water! Our small group boarded Pacific Explorer and we made our way into the Juan De Fuca Strait. The Juan De Fuca Strait was named in 1787 by maritime fur trader and captain of the Imperial Eagle, Charles William Barkley. Barkley named the Strait after the Greek navigator “Juan De Fuca” who sailed in the 1592 expedition to find the fabled Strait of Anián.
Our trip took us near Port Angeles which is located in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Here is where we found some of the ever esteemed Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales! Our experience was quite spectacular with these whales. In the distance was T037 and the T037B’s. Closer to our boat was the T034 family. This family is made up of 4 individuals; T034 “Grace” who was estimated to be born in 1970, her eldest daughter T034A “Pachamama” who was born in 2007 and is now a mom of her own, and T034B who was born in late 2016. The little baby bopping along beside mom is known as T034A1; this baby is thought to be only 3 or 4 weeks old!
Next on the places to go was Race Rocks Lighthouse! Here we encountered Harbour Seals (aka fuzzy rock sausages) and a lone Steller Sea Lion. Race Rocks is home to 4 species of pinnipeds throughout the year and we got to see 2!
It was a fantastic day on the water!