Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
Articles tagged with: orcas
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.
Today some fantastic visitors to Victoria joined us to look for some of BC's finest marine mammals. We left the Harbour and travelled east along the Straight of Juan de Fuca until we reached Haro Straight and made our way north. We were approaching Darcey Island when we spotted the tell-tale sign of orcas- huge black dorsal fins! They were the T030 matriline.
This family consists of the family's mother, her two daughters, her son and one grandbaby, just recently born! This spunky calf stayed close to his or her mom, swimming in her slipstream. The slipstream is an area located just behind a whale's pectoral fin and is an area of lower resistance in the water, allowing calves to swim more easily through the sea.
We were delighted to witness one of the whales breach out of the water, an amazing and memorable sight! We soon could see the whales were in hot pursuit of some prey! ...
1PM Orca Spirit trip
No time was wasted today as we embarked on an eastward journey towards the Haro Strait. We had caught wind that there was a group of about 6 female transient orca whales. The Haro Strait is located between the San Juan Islands of America and Vancouver Island of Canada. It is an incredible area to view orca whales in the summer months as they seem to pop up there quite frequently.
As we approached the Haro Strait we spotted the other whale watching boats and headed into the area. It was here that we found the transients, and they put on quite a show. They seemed to be demonstrating forging behavior for us, and possibly trying to drown a sea mammal. We saw them spread out, converge, spyhop, tail slap, and we even caught a small breach, but because we cannot see under the sea only the orcas know what was happening beneath the surface of the strait! Transient Orca whales are very efficient marine mammal predators they hunt: harbor seals, California sea lions, steller sea lions, and have also been spotted attacking sea birds. Transients typically travel in smaller groups between 1 and 8 because of their specific diet and the need to meticulously and stealthily corner their prey. Another interesting observation found in the group we saw today was that they had a very young calf with them who could be identified by its typical juvenile orange colouring. This little transient group was quite the spectacle.