Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: SRKW J-58’s First Breath!

September 24, 2020

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour

What a day to be on the water! The Pacific Explorer made its way out of the Victoria Harbour with its 14 guests and 3 crew not expecting to have the trip of their lives.

The trip started with a nice visit from Scuttle the Humpback Whale. This whale has been a regular this season and the crew of Orca Spirit have become quite fond of it. This particular whale was first recorded in the Salish Sea in 2018 and has not only been spotted here every year since but has also been recorded spending its winters in Baja California! Scuttle is also rocking some scars on its fluke that are called rake marks which are from the teeth of Killer Whales likely trying to hunt it when it was a calf with its mom!

On our way to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve one of the guests spotted a lone killer whale so we stopped to take a look! At this point the naturalists realized that she was a lone Southern Resident Killer Whale, which was very odd, as they typically travel in large family units called pods. At this point we watched her surface a few times, then spend a decent amount of time underwater. Here we could see movement under the water but she wasn’t coming up right away. Next time she surfaced it was with a calf! We sat and watched the newest baby J-58 learn how to be a little whale accompanied by mom J-41 Eclipse. This little baby brings the Southern Resident population numbers up to 74, where we remain cautiously optimistic that they are finding the food they so desperately need to survive!

After sitting and watching in awe we made our way back to the Victoria Inner Harbour where we discussed the rarity of this experience and what we can all do to help this population of whales not only survive but allow them to thrive in their traditional territory, the Salish Sea.

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