Here's a little tourism insider tip - run, don't walk, to The Butchart Gardens dining room for lunch (before or... http://t.co/Kxh68UCPKK
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! They were diving at sharp angles, turning circles and plunging into the water. We never actually saw their prey surface as they tend to work together to not allow a seal or porpoise to surface for a breath, eventually drowning them and sharing the spoils.
After a most incredible time with the orcas we headed back towards Victoria where we were shocked to find Split Fin, a famous Humpback Whale that comes to the area annually.
Humpbacks are much more common from mid-August to the end of October, so we were very surprised but delighted to see our favourite male humpback! He was surfacing frequently and appeared to moving in a large circle. We could see his two blow hole openings and the large bumps on his head called tubercles. In the center of each tubercle is a nerve hair that detects changes in pressure in the water. This helps the whale know when it is approaching a cluster of food in the dark waters or when they are about to break the surface of the water to take a breath.
It was an absolutely awesome day on the water full of smiles, laughter, screams of joy and lots of cameras snapping.