Victoria Whale Watching Report: Bigg’s Killer Whale Family, the T18’s and a Humpback Whale! Esperanza (T18), Nootka (T19), Galiano (T19B), and Spouter (T19C).
August 15, 2020
Saturday, August 15th, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour
This afternoon we headed out into the Juan de Fuca Strait with beautiful conditions for our trip.
It didn’t take us long before we encountered a family of Bigg’s Killer Whales! This ecotype of killer whales hunt mammals such as seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even other whales! The particular family we were with today is known as the T18s. This family is easily identified by the two large males, Galiano and Spouter. They are a well-known family in our area and always a treat to see. We are able to identify these families primarily by their unique dorsal fins! They often have cuts and scratches from hunting toothed mammals. Male killer whales will spend their lives travelling with their mother and will only leave temporarily to mate! They hunt together and will share each meal amongst them all. We watched them swimming through the strait for quite some time, with a gorgeous view of the Olympic mountains in the background.
After spending time with these whales, we left in search of more wildlife. Not too soon after, we spotted a blow ahead of us! This was a Humpback Whale! Humpback whales have baleen instead of teeth and use this to filter their food. They are in our waters from Spring until Fall and are trying to gain as much weight as possible before returning to their breeding grounds. Their diet consists of krill and small schooling fish such as herring. This whale was going on long dives, but we managed to get some great views of it! Unlike killer whales, humpbacks are solitary and only spend one year with their mothers. During this year they will learn their migration route, feeding techniques, and other whale behaviours!
Sadly, we then had to make our way back to Victoria. It was an exciting and gorgeous day on the water!