Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals & Ollie The Sea Otter
October 11, 2019
The afternoon ended up being beautifully sunny and low winds prevailed.
We cruised out of the Victoria Harbour and aimed southwest in the Juan de Fuca Strait. With such clear skies, we had excellent views of the Olympic Mountain range and Mount Baker was visible to the east, with its giant snow-capped peak! Pretty soon humpback whales caught our eye and everyone was excited to watch these whales in their natural habitat.
Two humpbacks were keeping each other company as they surfaced and dove side-by-side. Humpbacks do not live in pods but they are very social whales who seem to enjoy the company of others even if they are not related. At this time of year, humpbacks are very large, having spent the past several months eating and eating and eating! Very little food exists on their migration route to Mexico, Hawaii, or Costa Rica, so spring, summer, and fall are meant for storing fat reserves for the journey.
These two humpbacks seemed to be quite relaxed, not diving for long periods of time and gently lifting their tails above the surface.
There is something magical in the elegant way they swim that captivates any observer.
After a wonderful visit with the humpbacks, we moved on to Race Rocks Lighthouse. Harbour Seals were relaxing in the sunshine along the bottom of the islets while the noisy sea lions were spread out from water’s edge to hilltop!
Both California and Steller Sea Lions are found here, all mixed together on the islands. Most exciting of all at Race Rocks Lighthouse was the discovery of Ollie in the Bull Kelp bed. Ollie is our one and only resident sea otter, but he has not been seen for several weeks. He was all tucked into his kelp nest, napping in the golden light.
Ollie is quite the favourite critter around here, with that big, black nose, blonde face and giant brown feet! It was a perfect way to end our day with Salish Sea wildlife!