Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
September 1, 2011 - Orca Spirit Morning Tour
Today, on the first day of September, we started off our trip after the fog in the harbour had lifted with whales on our minds! We headed west in hope of bumping into some transient orca that have been hanging around Race Rocks lately. On our way we spotted a bait ball and stopped to check it out. A bait ball is a crowd of bait fish that are near the surface of the water. They are easy to spot out because many seagulls flock around this small area on top of the water in hopes of a little snack! As we were watching we noticed two harbour seal heads amongst flapping birds! They were there for a snack too! We often like to stop at bait balls because it brings in many type of wildlife including whales!
We continued on past Race Rocks and stopped for a bit of a scan just of an area of East Sooke. We looked and looked but we didn't seem to be having much luck in this spot so Brad, our captain, turned us around and we headed south towards the Olympic Mountains. After a little bit of traveling, we got a report of a humpback in the area! Because of frequent whaling in the past, humpbacks were scared out of the Juan de Fuca strait for some time. But about 15 years ago, they started realizing that these waters were once again safe and they have been slowly increasing in numbers every year in the fall for a pit stop before they head off to Hawaii for the winter. Today we saw one lone humpback. It was obviously quite content on something deep down as it kept making long dives. For every dive it made, we got a chance to see its spectacular "fluke" or tail and noticed that this particular humpback had two white spots on each end of the fluke. After a few really neat sightings, we headed back toward Race Rocks to check out the very busy activity. We saw the cute little harbour seals and the massive smelly sea lions then made our way back to Victoria harbour.