Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales and Race Rocks Ecological Reserve!

September 4, 2019

MORNING TOUR

Today’s trip on the Pacific Explorer brought the guests and crew out into the Juan De Fuca Strait. This body of water is bordered by the Olympic Peninsula of Washington Strait on one side, and Vancouver Island on the other. The Olympic Peninsula is home to the only rainforests in the Continental United States and is among a few of the rainiest places in the world. One of the most noticeable areas on our trips of the Olympic Peninsula is Hurrican Ridge, and Mt. Olympus; this mountain is the highest mountain in the national park and the third largest glacial system in all of the US.

While searching for whales in the Juan De Fuca Strait, we came across a few Humpback Whales. These animals are quite large, about the size of the Pacific Explorer boat in length, and tail width however the boat weighs less than a Humpback! These animals are usually around thirty to forty tons, but when they come back from their mating and calving grounds they have usually lost about 1/3 to 1/2 of their body weight. This means that when these whales spend their summers in our area they are solely focused on eating and gaining that lost weight, plus more back.

We wrapped the trip up with a visit to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where we got to visit the Pinnipeds of the Salish Sea. Here we saw Harbour Seals, Californian Sea Lions and Steller Sea Lions. All of these animals like to haul themselves out of the water and warm their blubber in the sun and conserve energy for hunting. When they are hauled out they can look quite lazy, but what we are seeing is usually just nap time!

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