Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
I do not have enough superlatives to describe our 1 pm trip aboard the Pacific Explorer. Our amazing trip started out with an encounter with two transient orcas east of Whirl Bay. We spotted the large dorsal fin of T31, a huge male orca who seems to be residing in the Victoria area this past month. Travelling with T31 was a female, perhaps T49. We had a brief but absolutely incredible encounter, as we had an incredible pass, in which we saw a harbour seal firmly in the grasp of the female's jaws! We watched as the whales continued east and then we travelled just a short distance to the south to watch two humpback whales. Guests enjoyed watching the two whales surfacing and occasionally showing us their massive tail flukes. All of this incredible wildlife viewing - and the trip was not even an hour old!
As we watched the humpback whales, we spotted more dorsal fins in the distance. It was resident orcas. Members of all 3 pods were inbound. We waited and watched just outside the boundary of Race Rocks ecological reserve. A bald eagle was also perched nearby and lots of sea lions were in the water not the least bit concerned by the presence of the fish-eating resident orcas. Three large groups of orcas worked their way by the Pacific Explorer, including a huge group in resting formation. After the whales passed by and through the reserve, we watched the sea lions before heading south for another view of the humpback whales.
Before we headed back to the harbour, we stopped for another view of the residents. Captain Brad dropped the hydrophone and we heard some astounding vocalizations. Guests were thrilled to see an incredible breach, some porpoising and some tail slapping behaviour. With transient orcas hunting a seal, humpback whales, resident orcas, California sea lions, Steller sea lions and even a bald eagle amongst the wildlife we saw today, it was a trip that guests and crew will likely not soon forget.