Victoria Whale Watching Report: The T99’s – Transient Orca Family and Yogi the Humpback!
August 2, 2020
Sunday, August 2nd, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tour
Every day with whales is a truly spectacular day, but today was extra, extra special! We scooted out onto the straight with excited guests, ready to explore the Salish Sea. We didn’t even make it to Race Rocks Lighthouse before we saw out first cetaceans of the day- Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales!
The T99 family was making their way southwest at a decent clip. This family includes Mom (T99) who was born in 1984 and her three offspring- T99B, T99C, and T99D. The easiest of the four to pick out is T99B who has several noticeable nicks in the trailing edge of its dorsal fin. We do not know the sex of any of her offspring, but since T99B was born in 2007, and does not seem to be sprouting a tall, straight dorsal fin yet, we are pretty confident we can say T99B is a female. T99C was born in 2009 and T99D was born in 2015, so we will have to wait a little longer to figure out if they are male or female, unless we get a lucky photo of their lower belly area.
We left the T99’s to continue their journey west. We pulled into the rocky islets of Race Rocks Marine Reserve where we checked out the historical lighthouse and enjoyed the sights and sounds of both California and Steller Sea Lions! The sea lions call this spot home for approximately 10 months of the year, spending about 2 months north or south with the ladies for mating season. We are excited to see more and more of the males return every day. Harbour Seals could be seen on many of the islands as well, some Moms still nursing young pups of the season.
Then the most spectacular sight of the trip was upon us! We moved east of Race Rocks and could not miss the massive body of a humpback whale launch out of the water! Once we reached the area, we got some shots of this humpback’s tail- it was Yogi! Yogi is well known on the coastline for being a breacher. Today Yogi would do a pattern of slapping his pectoral fins on the surface of the water, then rolling over to take a few breathes, fluke, and then….WHOOSH! He would launch out of the sea in a massive breach! Repeat. It is hard to describe what it is like to see a whale that big leap out of the water. We were all left in awe after much screaming and shouting for joy of course!
To top off our excitement, guides Talia and Rachael were able to capture some shots of Yogi’s lower belly area and confirm the long-held suspicion that Yogi is in fact a male! We sent our shots to researchers so they could confirm our findings. It is always great to get the opportunity to contribute to scientific research while we are out on the water! We are so happy we got to share such a wonderful experience with our guests today! Don’t forget to check out photos from the trip on Flickr!