Written by Lori, Naturalist – The week of October 11th
What a fantastic week it has been here at Orca Spirit Adventures! Our days on the water have been filled with incredible sightings of some of our favourite animals of the Salish Sea, and the whale watching has truly been nothing short of spectacular.
Rain or shine, each time that we have ventured off into the Salish Sea we have had incredible success this week! We have not had to wait long on our tours before we spot the tall, bushy blow of a humpback whale, or the rooster-tail splash of a dall’s porpoise.
We have been fortunate to have spotted multiple humpback whales this week, many of which were feeding and socializing quite close to one another! It is a humbling experience to spot one humpback whale and quickly notice that you are surrounded. The cold, coastal waters of the Juan de Fuca are rich in prey, and the humpback whales sighted here are gorging themselves on herring and krill before they migrate down South for the winter months. It is beautiful to listen to their inhales and exhales as they surface slowly before going on a deeper dive.
This week we also had the pleasure of encountering an animal that I have not seen in awhile – the dall’s porpoise! Often mistaken for a killer whale calf because of their similar colouration, the dall’s porpoise is the fastest cetacean in BC waters, reaching speeds of 55km per hour! They create a distinct ‘rooster-tail’ splash when travelling quickly, and often travel in group sizes of 2-10. Dall’s porpoises are well-known for their playful behaviour around boats, and will often bow ride whenever possible.
We were fortunate to spot several bald eagles on our tours this week as well! Young bald eagles do not develop the distinct white plumage they are known for on their heads until they are about four to five years old. When exploring the surrounding waters of Race Rocks, we saw a bald eagle flying with a marine bird clutched in its talons! Bald eagles are opportunistic predators, and while they often prey on fish it is not unusual for us to see them hunting other birds.
There is such a wide diversity of wildlife that we see on our tours each week that it is hard to choose just what to write about in these blogs! Each wildlife encounter is completely unique, and we never tire of viewing these incredible animals in their environment. I can hardly wait for our next adventure on the Haisla Explorer!