May 22, 2021- 12pm Tour
The Victoria Long Weekend brought the Capital City blue skies and sunshine. Guests joined us on the Haisla Explorer and we began our search for whales and other marine wildlife by heading west. We cruised along the shoreline until we reached the shores of Becher Bay, then we swung out into the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to see if any whales could be spotted offshore.
After looking for blows, fins, and splashes near the Victor Gulf buoy, we set our sights on Race Rocks Lighthouse. The small group of islands that make up this Ecological Reserve and Marine Protected Area are home to Ollie the Sea Otter, Steller and California Sea Lions, giant Elephant Seals, and Harbour Seals including some very pregnant females!
Today we spotted one Elephant Seal cozied up to the base of the concrete staircase and one basking in the sun beside one of the buildings. We were excited to see more births this past January of Elephant Seals at Race Rocks Lighthouse. They put a whole new spin on the words “big babies”! Both California and Steller Sea Lions were spotted roaring and barking at each other as they argued over who gets the best spot on the shore.
Harbour Seals tend to keep to themselves as they stuck to lying on some of the smaller islands in the Reserve. We are now at the start of the pupping season, so many females are looking plump as they prepare to give birth to their young. Pups are nursed for approximately 4 weeks before being weaned and adapting to a diet of fish and invertebrates.
No one can grab your attention like Ollie the Sea Otter. We found him napping in a small Bull Kelp bed with the tips of his paws tucked into his mouth. He truly makes us all melt with an overload of cuteness! He eventually popped open his eyelids before starting to barrel roll as he stretched in the afternoon sun. You might think he has his own version of Sea Otter Yoga the way he poses! It was a wonderful day on the waters of the Salish Sea with so many different marine mammals to watch!