Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Orcas, Seals & Sea Lions

July 30, 2019

This afternoon we headed South into the Juan De Fuca Strait.

After a brief time of travelling, we ended up with a group of Transient/Biggs Killer Whales! This ecotype hunts mammals such as seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even other whales. We quickly identified this group as the T46B family because one member, in particular, is very unique. He was born in 2018 and has Leucism, which is a partial loss of pigmentation. This means that he looks grey rather than black! The matriarch of this group was born in 1988 and has five daughters!

The only male in this group is T046B1B, who is the grandson of T46B and is the one with Leucism. It’s very easy to spot an adult male because their dorsal fins are a lot taller and more straight than the females. Before they reach adulthood, however, the only way to tell males from females is to get a photo of their underside. We spent quite a bit of time with these animals, before heading further West to look for more wildlife.

We stopped at a place called Race Rocks, which is an ecological reserve. It has this designation because of the rich communities of subtidal and intertidal life here that have resulted from strong currents. We were able to see plenty of Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks, as well as Steller and California Sea Lions. The difference between the two is that the Stellers are larger and paler in colour.

The lighthouse here is the second oldest in the Canadian Pacific, built-in 1860. It is composed of granite blocks and has black stripes on it to help boats see it through fog. It is no longer manned, but there is a woman who lives at Race Rocks to act as a Guardian for the wildlife here.

It was then time for us to make our way back to Victoria after a wonderful afternoon at sea!

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