Watching the sun set with our guests from the Star Princess (Princess Cruises). http://t.co/HOSPXt2VCT
We began our tour braving the Westerlies on the Juan de Fuca, which fortunately quieted down. Just past the harbour headed towards Esquimalt a mature bald eagle was spotted from a high perch in Western Red Cedar. We scoured Bentick Island and the coves in the area of the Esquimalt Department of National Defense and spotted several lounging Harbour Seals dozing in the late evening sunshine. Next we were off to Race Rocks! Our Captain Brad carefully maneuvered the Orca Spirit around the jagged rocks and ebbing current. We were fortunate to immediately spot a group of male Stellar Sea Lions. They appeared less than interested in us, but nonetheless posed for the camera. Nearly over looked next to the Stellars was an unusual and welcome sight! A male elephant seal, rare to this region when most males are vying for territorial rights further South. The interloping male snorted his proboscis (nose) and we observed the name sake of the species. The tour continued to Pender Bay. A family of river otters leaped into the water as we approached and unfortunately all that was observed there after were, perhaps imagined, bobbing heads. However, river otters are another rare sight to this region as their cousins, the sea otters were extirpated decades earlier during the fur trade. Wrapping up the day, the yellow orange sunset illuminated the Sooke hills as we headed back to port. We had a delightful go see of the inner harbour, taking in the spectacularly lit parliament building. Though not a whale of a day, the sunset tour had the Orca Spirit seal of approval!