Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpback Whales & T049C “Janet” The Killer Whale
October 26, 2019
This afternoon as we headed out of the harbor, it was calm enough to see the exhales of whales from miles away. We headed south towards the groupings of humpbacks and were able to watch them feed for quite a while. At first, it was two, then another two, and seeing more spread out in the distance!
While lunge feeding, the whales will thrust their bodies out of the water with their mouths agape. With this, we were able to view tongues and their baleen! Baleen is how they filter their food in large amounts, it acts as a spaghetti strainer where the food remains as the water drains. When humpbacks are lunge feeding, you are also able to view their ventral pleats, stretching from their chins to the belly button. These throat pleats expand when intaking water and food, then will contract when they push the water out of their mouth.
After spending some time with these feeding humpbacks we moved on to Race Rocks to view our seals, sea lions, and old lighthouse. This spot is an ecological reserve as it is lush in sea life in such a small area.
Many harbor seals are hauled out along the rocky islets, Stellar and California sea lions soaking up the sun and splashing in the water. Even though these animals make up a prime buffet for Transient orca, it is uncommon to have them consistently swimming through the reserve as there are too few in a pod to take on hundreds of sea lions weighing anywhere between 800-2500 pounds! After some great views, we made our way back to Victoria. About halfway home we were surprised by a lone male orca.
This male as identified as Janet, T49C, a lone male as his mother has passed away and his two sisters have large pods of their own. He roams and meets up with other pods to socialize and mate. Along with linking up with other pods, it is not uncommon to see two lone males hanging out with one another to hunt and socialize.
We were able to watch this big male for quite a while, but he became difficult to keep track of as he was being quite elusive. We stopped to take a look at a couple of more humpback before heading home towards Victoria, taking in the beautiful coastline after quite a successful trip.