Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
August 6, 2011
This morning, we headed over to False Bay on San Juan Island to investigate a report of orcas. We arrived on scene and scanned for blows, and first noticed the blows of Mattia (L77), a 24-year old female. Nearby, we saw the huge male Mega (L41), Mattia's brother. These two whales belong to the L12 subpod, and were part of a group of at least 10 animals foraging for salmon. We watched Mega for much of the trip and had a thrilling encounter with the large male. A stop at the Chain Islets to view the many harbour seals was a great way to conclude this morning's wildlife adventure.
A calm jaunt to northern San Juan Island this afternoon found us members of what we initially thought were J and K pods, but upon photo identification turned out to be L-pod Orcas. The L-pod whales were heading south along the coast and we met up with them between Henry Island and the Kelp Reef marker south of D'Arcy Island. They were fishing and cruising in the calm sunny waters of Haro Strait, some spreading out while others bunched up together. There were a lot of males in the area, specifically: Gaia (L78), Wavewalker (L88), Mega (L41), Skana (L79), and Crewser (L92). The males were of course escorted by female family members including the L12 subgroup which is made up of: Alexis (L12) and her two daughters Matia (L77) and Calypso (L94), with Calypso's 3 year old daughter Molly (L113) and seperately the L2 subgroup with Gaia and Wavewalker's mother Grace (L2). The whales were showing us their tails and pectoral fins, waving at the passengers aboard the silver Orca Spirit. The day couldn't be more beautiful as we shut off our engines and listened to the chatter of the large mammals over our hydrophone. When we did turn to make our way back we were sure to stop for a peek at some napping harbour seals amongst the Chain Islands. The Cormorants were all out on the rocks as well, sunning themselves dry from their aquatic luncheon. Just before we were back in Victoria Harbour a few little Harbour Porpoise were spotted amongst the fishermen; their gray dorsals popping above the glassy surface before disappearing again. Another great day whale watching!