Written by: Rachael, Lead Naturalist
As always, the past week has been full of excitement and indescribable moments with the wonderful animals of the Salish Sea. In our little corner of the world, the ocean abounds with mammals, birds, fish, gorgeous seaweeds and interesting invertebrates! The diversity of the straights are backed by stunning scenery of snow-capped mountains and green temperate rainforests. Just being on the water can open your eyes to a whole new world, miles away from the hustle and bustle of any city.
Have you ever started your week off with a T-Party?! Well we did! When multiple families of Transient (thus “T”) Killer Whales spend time together, we call it a “T-Party”! There were no Monday Blues with the T137’s, T65A’s, T37A’s and the T34’s cavorting in the waters off Lopez Island! We saw them racing around in big groups, rolling and playing together. It was an amazing and unforgettable sight.
Steller Sea Lions continue to arrive back at Race Rocks Lighthouse after the mating season. These adorable “sea bears” are entertaining to watch as they bumble along the shorelines on their giant hairless flippers and nap above the tide line. We continue to see young Harbour Seals pups stick close to their moms and nurse in the sunshine. Nothing is more adorable than a fuzzy baby seal with neck wrinkles! Soon they will be on their own and navigating the Salish Sea as independent juveniles. Good luck little fur balls!
We were so excited this week to see some familiar humpbacks for the first time this season including Scuttle and Yogi! The humpbacks have been feasting far out west, south of Sooke and Sheringham Lighthouse. Their unique tails allow us to ID them as individuals and Scuttle and Yogi have been returning to our local waters for several years, so they have become more like family than annual visitors. The sound of a humpback exhaling is something you never forget and being in their presence is something you can’t describe in words, you just need to experience it.
The week ended the same way it started- with Transient (Bigg’s) Killer Whales having a party! This time it was the T137’s, T36A2 and T36A3 enjoying some social time in Fulford Harbour, Salt Spring Island. This big group was so exciting to watch as they pushed each other around, rolled, breached, and pulled on the floats of mooring buoys! They moved as a big group and were constantly touching. It was an extremely special visit with these top predators who turned into a cuddle puddle with their friends!
At Orca Spirit Adventures, we feel so grateful to have the opportunity to share the wonders of the Salish Sea with guests from across Canada and the world. We hope that our visitors connect with nature, learn about our local species, and see how the world is all connected from the tiny plankton that feed humpback whales, to the oxygen-producing kelp forests that killer whales play in like it is part of their own ocean spa. Join us on a tour to experience your own Salish Sea adventure!