One of those 'we are so lucky to be in such a beautiful city' type of days! http://t.co/pmkVhOHZ44
It was a cloudy morning as we began our adventure on the Orca Spirit 2, filled with lots of excited and hopeful spirits on board. As we departed out west from Victoria harbour, we embarked on a safe, rather bumpy ride out past Race Rocks. With Race Rocks being the most southern tip of Vancouver Island, we were able to head north west up the coast, finding calm water, sheltered from the wind. Continuing onward, we were rewarded for our efforts, as two humpback whales were spotted in the distance. We ventured closer, maintaining a 100m distance from the whales, where people were given a wonderful opportunity to observe one the larger, magnificent creatures found in our local waters. Humpback females, as are all baleen whale females, are larger than their male counterparts, weighing up to 40 tons and can grow to as long as 50 feet! These beautiful whales make an extraordinary migration each year to the warm waters of hawaii to calve and mate. At this time the females do not eat, and can lose as much as 17 tons by the time they return to our cold nutrient waters. Talk about a weight loss program! We watched the humpbacks dive several times, lifting their huge, 18 feet wide flukes in the air and they plunged into our oceans depths. It was truly breathtaking!
As we concentrated our attention on the humpbacks, our captains were able to spot several orcas traveling toward us in the distance! The Humpbacks continued to feed and dive as we started to move out and welcome the orcas. It was confirmed that the orcas we were looking at were resident orcas, belonging to J pod, one of three resident pods who reside year round in the waters off the coast of vancouver island. J-pod consists of 27 members and is led by their matriarch, Granny, who is an astonishing 101 years old this year!! Female orcas live to about 80 years old, with males living from 40-60 years, making granny the oldest known orca to this very day!
Returning safely back to the calm Victorian harbour, the tour was a little bumpy, but in the end was described as a remarkable experience from several passengers, surely not to be forgotten!!