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Victoria Whale Watching Report: A Week Filled With Exciting and Memorable Encounters!

October 12, 2021

Written by Lori, Naturalist – The Week of October 3rd, 2021

It is hard to believe that the first week of October has already flown by! They say time flies when you’re having fun, and that has certainly been true for us here at Orca Spirit Adventures. It has been a week filled with exciting and memorable encounters with some of our favourite marine mammals.

This week we were fortunate enough to see one of our favourite Transient Killer Whale families – the T18’s! This is a family of four Transient Killer Whales including two males and two females. This family is easily identified by the two large males in the group, Galiano and Spouter, who have incredibly large and impressive dorsal fins! Adult male killer whales are larger than the females, and are distinguishable by the increased size of their dorsal fin at sexual maturity. Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, a male killer whale’s dorsal fin can grow to be over six feet tall! It is an incredible sight to behold as it slices through the surface of the water.

We had an extremely memorable experience with three humpback whales this week as well! We were fortunate to see what appeared to be two males pursuing a female humpback whale. The three humpback whales were travelling very closely together, and each time they came up for a breath they were pushing their rostrums out of the water almost aggressively! This gave us a great opportunity to see many of the bumps that humpback whales have around their rostrum and pectoral flippers. These bumps are called “tubercles” – and they each contain one single hair follicle! Tubercles located around a humpback whale’s pectoral flippers help to reduce drag underwater and improve the maneuverability of humpback whales. They are extremely graceful swimmers!

We also spotted a single humpback whale by Mandarte Island this week, and couldn’t resist going to see one of the largest seabird colonies we have here in British Columbia afterwards! Mandarte Island is a sandstone island located in Haro Strait, and it is the perfect place to find an incredible amount of Pelagic, Double-crested, and Brandt’s cormorants! It is amazing to see their nests built on the edge of cliff faces. Nests can be between 1.5 and 3 feet in diameter, and 4 to 7 inches high. Breeding cormorants will even steal nesting materials from other nests that aren’t guarded!

It has been an incredible week here at Orca Spirit Adventures – filled with some of our favourite creatures of the Salish Sea. We can’t wait for our next opportunity to untie from the docks and go exploring again in our big blue backyard!

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