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Victoria Whale Watching Report: Big Mama: The Humpback Whale, Race Rocks, and So Much More!

August 11, 2021

Week of August 3rd, 2021 – Written by Lori, Naturalist

It is always a beautiful day to be out on the water and this week was no exception! We were fortunate to have a wildlife-packed week with some absolutely incredible encounters with the beautiful creatures who call the Salish Sea home. The abundance of wildlife we see on our tours never fails to amaze us.

One of the most notable wildlife encounters of this week was an appearance by the humpback whale known as “Big Mama” with her calf “Split Fin.” Big Mama is a very famous whale in our waters, as she is known to have spurred the “humpback comeback” that we have seen here in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. She was the first humpback whale sighted near Race Rocks in 1997 after nearly 100 years, and since then Big Mama has returned to these waters year after year. We are always excited for her to make her appearance in the Salish Sea – and beyond excited to see her on one of our trips!

As we head out West for humpback whales on our trips, we have also been fortunate to see numerous steller sea lions return to Race Rocks after the mating season. While many nap in the sun above the shoreline, others tussle with one another and swim in the fast-moving currents surrounding Race Rocks. Harbour seals are abundant on the rocky shores, and are a commonly sighted animal on nearly all of our tours. We are fortunate to have a healthy and stable population of them here in British Columbia!

We were able to spend some time with a family of transient killer whales at the start of our week as well! This particular group is known as the T60’s. They hugged the shoreline closely and we were able to identify them by their unique saddle patches and dorsal fins.

Last but not least, we cannot forget the incredible array of marine birds that we were able to see on our tours this week! It is always special to see a bald eagle fly across the bow of our boat. It takes about 4-5 years for them to get that beautiful white head, and they are always a welcome sight.

We look forward to many more amazing encounters in the weeks to come!

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