Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
July 27, 2011
The seas could not be better for whale watching this morning, as we headed out of Victoria Harbour with the sun promising to shine! We hooked a left after passing the Ogden Point breakwall, heading towards San Juan Island. Cruising over to an area called False Bay, we spotted our first black dorsal fins. They belonged to members of the Southern Resident Killer Whale community. Individuals from both J and K-pods were spread out along the western shores of San Juan Island. It didn’t take long to recognize that the whales were intent on hunting down salmon! We shut down the boat to watch the whales in silence which reduced the amount of noise in the water, making it easier for orcas to utilize their highly advanced echolocation to find food. It was not long into our visit, that we spotted the unmistakable dorsal fin with a notch in the center of it, and a solid saddle patch. We had J-2 or Granny, the oldest known orca in the world at 100 years! Granny is the matriarch leader of J-pod, making decisions for the family, like where to search for food, how far to travel and when to sleep.
It was amazing to watch how agile killer whales are, as the turned and twisted in different directions as they pursued their breakfast. Guests enjoyed listening to vocalizations from the whales, as conditions were perfect for placing the hydrophone in the water. We could hear the squeaks, whistles, and calls of the whales, along with the ticks they use for echolocation. After an awesome morning with the orcas, we made our way towards Victoria, but not before stopping at Chain Islands to discover Harbour Seals sprawled out along the lower rocks. Young pups laid closer to their moms as they soaked up the warm sunshine. We were also fortunate to spot one adult bald eagle and two juveniles at Trial Island. The eagles were scouting the area from their favourite perches on the island. It was a truly exciting morning out on the water of Victoria's coast!