Kicking Off The 2017 Whale Watching Season
April 7, 2017
What a great week to be out on the water! Kicking off the 2017 whale watching season here at Orca Spirit has been exciting and full of encounters with some of our favorite animals.
One of the Salish Sea’s most famous humpbacks has been sighted this week. Big Mama (or BCY0324) was one of the first humpbacks to consistently return to our waters since 1999. Since then she has been seen in Hawaii and has brought back 6 calves! Last spring she brought back a calf named Poptart who we got to see grow and play next to his mother all season. Big Mama was seen in Haro Strait this week, just off Victoria, and a smaller humpback was seen with her. Although we have yet to ID this smaller humpback, speculation in the whale watching community is that it’s Poptart.
We also had an encounter with the J16s, which are members of our Southern Resident Killer Whale community. The J16s include 3 generations – J16 Slick and her offspring J26 Mike, J36 Alki, J42 Echo and J50 Scarlet as well as Alki’s son J52 Sonic. With 2 little orcas on the move (Scarlet and Sonic) this family group is a busy one!
Finally we had the great opportunity to spend time with a transient killer whale matriline, the T11s. T011 (Wakana) and T011A (Rainy) are a mother and son duo who frequent the waters around Southern Vancouver Island. The rumour is that Rainy (T11A) is one of the biggest males in the whole west coast transient killer whale community, and you can really see his size as when he surfaces and his massive dorsal fin breaks out of the water.
All-in-all a wonderful start to the season and we look forward to many more exciting weeks to come!