Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
September 3, 2011
This evening, we headed out on a special 2 hour wildlife excursion. Both the Pacific Explorer and the Orca Spirit II headed out into Juan de Fuca Strait. A stop at Race Rocks was definitely on the agenda, and of course we would be on the lookout for whales. Little did we know what a remarkable trip it would be! Race Rocks was spectacular as always, especially in the light of the setting sun. We watched the territorial battles of some squabbling Steller sea lions and watched many California sea lions hauled out on the rocks and swimming in the water. Harbour seals were hauled as well. With reports of humpback whales, we headed west.
We arrived on scene southwest of Beechey Head, and spotted the blows of a humpback whale. Soon, we realized that there was definitely more than one. In fact there were probably four humpback whales, including a mother-calf pair. The highlight of our encounter aboard the Orca Spirit II was a wonderful pass from the mother and calf. In one of the more amazing things that I have seen in awhile, there were literally thousands of baitfish bubbling at the surface. Guests were thrilled when the two humpbacks surfaced near the baitball, undoubtedly getting a mouth full of fish at the same time. As we were leaving the scene, some of the guests aboard the Orca Spirit and I noticed a nearby minke whale. It was a baleen whale extravaganza! Guests aboard the Pacific Explorer were thrilled when the minke whale breached nearby as they were leaving the scene. This is an incredibly rare event. On the return to Victoria, we enjoyed the last rays from the setting sun and headed for the harbour satisfied after another fantastic experience on the Salish Sea.