Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
August 14, 2011
Our morning trip aboard the Orca Spirit, we had a fantastic experience with transient orcas. After a long search in Haro Strait for resident orcas, we received a report of transient orcas in Oak Bay. We arrived on scene near Trial Island to find a group of 5 orcas, including at least one young calf that were slowly working their way westward. The mammal-hunters travelled past the seal haul outs on Trial Island without incident, and the many seals lived to see another day. Transient orca sightings increase in the Victoria area in mid-August as there are many young harbour seal pups and sea lions are also returning to the area. As we were working our way across the Victoria waterfront, we were also able to visit T31, a huge male transient orca that was found a mile or two to the south. It is believed that T31 is at least 57 years old, making him one of the oldest male orcas on the coast!
This afternoon found us just outside of Victoria looking for a group of transient Orcas. After several minutes of scanning we spotted the stealthy group heading west along the coastline. We caught up to them and found it was a small pod of 3 adult females and 2 youngsters. They moved with some purpose initially, but after a little while they made an abrupt change in direction and headed into a bay near Metchosin, a municipality of Victoria. Here the Orcas paused near the shore line and caught themselves some lunch, they dove and ate their catch in the quiet bay, being a little more exuberant after. We continued to follow them all the way to Race Rocks with its amazing striped lighthouse where they met up with a large lone male transient. We were able to identify the male as T31 by his white saddle patch. For the remainder of our trip we took a spin through the rocks and viewed Stellar and California Sea Lions as well as Harbour Seals, basking in the warm afternoon sun. It was another marvellous day in the Salish Sea!