Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
September 6, 2011
This afternoon with sunny skies in the harbor, we made our way out on the Orca Spirit in search of some wonderful B.C wildlife. Not long after we left the edge of the harbor we entered into a thick fog. We had heard reports from earlier that morning that Orcas could be heard west of Sooke but not seen, so we decided to see if we could find them ourselves!
After traveling for a while to fog began to lift and we are able to use the binoculars and saw some ‘blows’ and ‘exhalation clouds’ in the distance! Sure enough as we pulled to up Sheringham Point we realized it was a pod of resident Orcas! Resident Orcas are strictly fish eaters, where transient Orca are mammal hunters. Today one of out resident pods J-pod was joined with numbers of K-pod and L-pod and they were all resting together! When Orcas rest together they can’t shut off their brains to sleep like humans do, because they would forget to breathe, they only shut off one hemisphere of their brains, which allow them to rest their minds but also allows them to remember to breathe. The whales then line up side by side with one another and slowly move and surface all at the same time. Imagine 30 plus whales all surfacing at once! Today we didn’t have to imagine! The guests watched in amazement as these beautiful creatures moved in unison.
At one point a young calf started flapping its tail on the water and even displayed a spy hop for us! We were lucky to spend a good amount of time viewing these amazing orcas, but eventually we did have to start heading back to Victoria. On our back we stopped at the very busy Race Rocks where little harbor seals and huge Steller sea lions love to congregate because of the great fishing.
All in all another wonderful 3 hours we finish our tour back in Victoria with another wonderful memory.