One of those 'we are so lucky to be in such a beautiful city' type of days! http://t.co/pmkVhOHZ44
Articles tagged with: california sea lions
Highlights from a Summer of Whale Watching
The staff and crew at Orca Spirit Adventures Ltd. Wish to thank all who joined us on another spectacular season of whale and marine wildlife viewing out of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Victoria, B.C. is the best place in the Pacific Northwest and North America to depart from to see Killer Whales (Orcas) and one of the very best in the World to see whales of any kind (along with Valdes Peninsula, Argentina; Northern Norway, Southeast Alaska and Northeast Iceland).
There is no other city like Victoria, B.C. in the World where you can finish having High Tea at your 5 star hotel and then less than 2 hours later be out on the water watching Killer Whales.
So what does “Spectacular” really mean?
The Oxford Dictionary defines “spectacular” as “beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way”.
To really qualify, you expect there to be the sound of “Ooohs” and “Aaaahs” from those experiencing; or maybe even a loss for words, a need for quiet contemplation or a desire to catch one's breathe. Or dry a tear of joy.
I was on a trip with a couple who were farmers visiting from Iowa, and the husband, as he was watching a killer whale mother teaching her calf to hunt, had a tear rolling down his cheek. His wife said, “You don't understand. I have only seen him cry twice before in his life: Once at the birth of our first child, and again at his mother's funeral”.
We at Orca Spirit Adventures Ltd. know just how lucky we are, and we take the responsibility that goes with our chosen careers very seriously: To provide responsible and ethical wildlife viewing; to promote and support conservation and stewardship of the marine environment; to educate as well as entertain.
Everyday we are grateful to be living in such a wonderful city, near so many amazing marine mammals and with incredible ocean vistas, mountains, islands and forests.
We hope you enjoy these photos taken on our adventures through the Salish Sea, as on various three-hour whale watching cruises in 2012 we had as backdrops the Sooke Hills and Olympic Mountains, Juan de Fuca Strait, Haro Strait, Mount Baker, the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands of Pender, Saturna, Saltspring, Puget Sound, Georgia Strait, Race Rocks Marine Protected Area (MPA), and the proposed Southern Gulf Islands National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA).
The creatures we saw included Orcas (both Transient “Marine-Mammal-Eating” Killer Whales and Resident “Fish-Eating” Killer Whales); Humpback Whales; Gray Whales; Minke Whales; Steller and California Sea Lions; Northern Elephant Seals; Harbour Seals; Pacific White-sided, Harbour and Dall's Porpoise; Bald Eagles; and many species of birds including Cormorants, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Tufted Puffins, Great Blue Herons, Black Oyster Catchers, many species of Gulls, to name just the most common sightings.
The staff and crew at Orca Spirit thank those of you who joined us in 2012, and look forward to the opportunity to show this incredible natural environment to many more visitors in 2013.
We departed Victoria Harbour with the sun shining and salty sea scents all around us. We headed out South West over to the American side of the waters. Along the way we saw Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus, Black Guillemots (Cepphus grylle) and a few different species of local gulls. We then headed towards Race Rocks lighthouse to track down some more marine wildlife. Elephant Seals!! The Elephant Seal (Mirounga angustirostris) can reach upwards of 4000 pounds +! There were also some Harbour Seals (Phoca vitulina) and some very playful Stellar's Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus). For those of you who are wanting to sea the other local Sea Lion that I was mentioning (California Sea lions) you can view the video I told you all about at this link: Video of California Sea Lion in Victoria. Finally on our way back in for the day we were able to get some good photo ops of the second largest bird of prey or raptor, the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
Don't forget to leave us a comment to tell us what you think and which local marine residents you want to hear about next.
This afternoon we boarded the Orca Spirit and left the harbour with a sunny sky above, and calm waters below. We had only been traveling for about 10 minutes when we spotted Transient Orcas in the distance! They were a small group made up of three females and one large male. Transient Orcas differ from the Southern Resident Orcas because they only eat mammals such as seals, sea lions, and porpoises.
Transient Orcas travel in small groups, the optimal number being three. They are very quiet, and tend to sneak up on their prey without being noticed. Today the transients were on the move for quite a while before suddenly stopping to hunt. They moved in a zig-zag pattern, working together to catch whatever they were chasing just out of our sight underwater....