Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: So Many Mammal-Hunting Orcas!

August 28, 2019

AFTERNOON TOUR

This lovely afternoon we began our tour heading southeast into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to hopefully find a group of Bigg’s killer whales (the mammal-eaters) that we had seen on our morning tour. This was a group of 5 known as the T046’s – a very well known and well-loved family.

The mother of this group, T046 “Wake” is very impressive. Wake, who’s around 53 years old, has survived many threats including a food shortage caused by the seal culls of the 1950s and 1960s, and 6 weeks of captivity in Budd Inlet in Puget Sound. She now has a long lineage totalling 23 individuals!

When we found this incredible group we realized there were way more than just the T046s! In fact, there were up to 16 killer whales in total, also including the T037’s, T034’s and T100’s! They were active too, cartwheeling, breaching, flipping upside down, tail slapping…!

It’s not common to see this type of display from the Bigg’s killer whales, as they are normally trying to say as quiet and stealthy as possible while they’re in search of prey. With all these groups together, it looked like they were just having a blast and not too concerned about finding their next meal! The young ones were also chasing birds and catching them every once in a while. This could be just for fun, as they do seem to play with them like a dog with a chew toy, but it’s also great practice for catching their prey!

This was such an exciting afternoon with these groups. A true “T party”, as we like to call it! On our way home we stopped at the Chain Islands where we got to see the Bigg’s favourite food – harbour seals. We also saw many marine birds, including three species of Cormorant and up to fourteen species of gull! This was a day packed with excitement!

Thank you to everyone for sharing this experience with us!

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