Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Humpbacks, Race Rocks Lighthouse, Sea Lions, and More!

August 16, 2020

Sunday, August 16th, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour

Orca Spirit takes pride in taking guests from all corners of Canada and the world to see a huge variety of marine wildlife. The west coast is a special place where nutrient-rich waters form the basis of a magnificent food chain from plankton to whales. Today, the Pacific Explorer and our zodiac team set out on the Juan de Fuca Strait where furred, feathered, and smooth-skinned critters were found.

As we searched for whales like orcas, humpbacks, grey whales, and minkes, we did spot the tiny fins of Harbour Porpoises. They are one of two species of porpoise that live in the Salish Sea. They are very fast, so it is hard to get a photo of them, but we were successful in capturing a few! Then we spotted the largest of the four most common whale species we see- a Humpback whale! Humpback whales have huge tails than stretch 18 feet across. We use the unique shape and pigmentation marks on their tails to identify individuals. Naturalist Leah was quick to figure out we were watching Jagger who has an all-black tail fluke with a very jagged edge.

After following Jagger southeast for a while, we decided to check out the creatures who live at Race Rocks Lighthouse. Here we found Steller Sea Lions, one in particular looked like he was teaching a yoga class! California Sea Lions are a darker brown than the Steller’s and they weigh in around 900 pounds. The Harbour Seals with coats of all colours, were soaking up the sunny August day along the waterline. We were also able to capture some great shots of Common Murres who are very prevalent in the area right now.

With such a vast area to explore and so many animals to see, guests were thrilled to have been on the water today. We cruised back to Victoria, spending time looking at our Whale ID catalogues and comparing them to our pictures! Another perfect day on the water was in the logbook!



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