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Victoria Whale Watching Report: East Sooke Park and Killer Whales!

September 2, 2020

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour

This afternoon we headed West out into the Juan de Fuca Strait to look for wildlife in the Salish Sea.

Our trip today took us outside of East Sooke Park where we encountered some Transient Killer Whales! While we were trying to identify which family we were with we soon realized there were members from two separate families travelling together! Killer whales are very social animals, so they do enjoy the company of others when around the same area. This particular type of killer whale hunts mammals exclusively. Their diet includes seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even other whales!

The particular families we watched today are known as the T060s and the T109As. We are able to tell these families apart primarily based on their unique dorsal fins and saddle patches. Often these animals acquire nicks in their dorsal fins from hunting that will not grow over. These nicks are then used to identify individuals in each family.

We watched these whales for a while before turning around to see what animals we could find at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.

Whenever possible, we love being able to pass through Race Rocks because of the many seals and sea lions that haul out here. Today the Steller Sea Lions were mostly swimming around in the water, whereas the California Sea Lions were hauled out on the rocks. These two types of sea lions can be distinguished vocally and visually. Steller Sea Lions are a more pale brown colour, are larger, and make a deep growling sound. On the other hand, California Sea Lions are darker, smaller, and they make more of a barking noise.

After leaving Race Rocks, we took a coastal route back to Victoria. What a beautiful day on the water!



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