Captain’s Blog

Victoria Whale Watching Report: Welcoming the New Baby (J-57) of the Southern Resident Killer Whales!

September 11, 2020

Friday, September 11th, 2020 – 12pm Covered Vessel Tours

A blanket of smoke has settled over much of the South Coast with fires raging in Washington, Oregon, and California and resembles fog on the water. The smoke would not deter us from watching marine life today as we headed out onto the Juan de Fuca Strait. The waters were a bit choppy, so we followed along the coastline as we headed west, looking for killer whales that were reported earlier in the day. We went as far as East Sooke Park before looping around and cruising east in a more open area.

We received a radio call reporting Bigg’s Killer Whales, who hunt mammals, near Victoria Harbour. As we aimed in that direction- suddenly dorsal fins in all directions appeared! We had found the Southern Residents! The Southern Residents are an endangered population of orcas, who live off the Pacific Northwest. Because they are suffering from a shortage of abundant, consistent Chinook salmon, they are not seen in local waters as often as they historically were.

The most exciting part of our visit with this amazing family was that we got to see the week-old baby, J-57, with his or her mother Tahlequah (J-35), and the rest of the J-35 matriline. The calf was traveling close to Mom and it was easy to see with its black and orange, rather than black and white skin that newborn orcas have. We also got to see Cappuccino (K-21) who is our naturalist Rachael’s most favourite whale in the world! Near to Cappuccino was Spock (K-20) and Blackberry (J-27). It was a real Southern Resident superpod with members from all three pods there. It was one of the most thrilling whale watching days of the season, with both guests and crew on Cloud Nine after spending time with this famous family! Be sure to check out our photos from the trip on Flickr!

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