Victoria Whale Watching Report: Discovery Island and Transients Killer Whales!
August 13, 2020
Thursday, August 13th – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour
This afternoon we headed out into the Salish Sea with excellent conditions for viewing wildlife.
We took a coastal route out towards the Haro Strait, passing by beautiful sights such as the Trial Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse was established in 1906 but was rebuilt in 1970 and is still manned to this day. We also got a unique view of Victoria Golf Club, which was founded in 1893 and has landed a spot in the top 100 courses in the country.
Along our tour we also passed Discovery Island, which up until this year, was home to a lone wolf named “Takaya.” After spending 7 years there, this past winter he swam back to Oak Bay. Unfortunately, not too much later he was shot by a hunter. This was a huge loss to the community and there is now a beautiful mural in his honour on Discovery Island.
The islands in the Haro Strait are always amazing to see, but things got really exciting when Captain Jeremy slowed down to approach some whales ahead of us! There were two families of Bigg’s Killer Whales travelling together, which was a powerful sight to witness. This ecotype of killer whales hunts mammals such as seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even other whales. The two families we saw today were members of the T65a and T137 matrilines. We are able to identify individuals and families based on their dorsal fins, saddle patches, and eye patches. They often have cuts and scratches on them from hunting that help us tell them apart! The youngest whale we saw today was only two years old and looked so tiny amongst the rest of them. We watched them swim around and even witnessed some whale watching vessels warn recreational boats of their presence, making sure they slowed down and didn’t get too close to them.
We sadly had to turn around and make our way back to Victoria, but being able to see all of those whales on this picturesque summer day was an amazing experience.