One of those 'we are so lucky to be in such a beautiful city' type of days! http://t.co/pmkVhOHZ44
July 13, 2011
On today's Orca Spirit whale watching trip, we sailed out of the harbour with cloudy skies, but the rain held off for the entire morning! The latest report our captain received was that there were resident killer whales in Rosario Straight. This area is located amongst the San Juan Islands in Washington. It is a long stretch to travel, but it was the only way we would be able to see wild orcas! Our guests enjoyed the flat seas as we cruised towards our destination at top speed on the Orca Spirit. All eyes were on deck as we entered the straight. Several boats worked cooperatively to pinpoint exactly where the whales were. Soon black dorsal fins could be seen, and tall spouts of mist blanketed the air. We found J-pod, one of the three pods from the southern resident community! The family of 27 whales was spread out from the banks of the mainland, out into offshore waters. We watched as a female and Blackberry (J-27) surfaced repeatedly above the water. Blackberry is a mature male, celebrating his 20th birthday this year. Blackberry has been known to biologists and whale watchers since his birth in 1991. He has a close friend by the name of Mike (J-26), who was born the same year. Together these young males hold much promise for the growth of the southern resident population. On the other side of the boat we spotted two females and a young calf. The baby orcas appear so small compared to their adult family members, but in reality they are over 7 feet long and weigh well over 500 pounds! It was very peaceful to listen to the sound of the whales exhaling as we were able to shut down the engines and watch the whales. On our way back to Victoria, some of the guests were able to spot several harbour porpoises as they surfaced and quickly disappeared. Porpoises happen to be the fastest swimming members of all cetaceans. A lovely morning was had by all amongst the graceful presence of orcas and beautiful scenery of the Pacific coast.
This afternoon we took our 70 passenger boat, Pacific Explorer, out for a lovely tour. We headed West this time to see if we could come across transient Orcas. About 20 minutes into our trip we were lucky enough to hear to boat slow down as our captain had spotted some black dorsal fins in the distance! As we slowly crept in to our 100m distance we were able to see the whales surface about 3 times in a group of four. But, as a popular game amongst the whales is the “Hide and Seek” the whales had disappeared for a longer dive. They eventually popped up for a few synchronized breaths then disappeared again! We figured they must be in search of lunch. After a while we moved on and found another group of transients not far from the first group. After watching this group for a while the previous group came and joined up with the second group, and seemed to be on the hunt for lunch! We noticed a porpoise not far off and then saw an attack! Once a group of transients make a kill, they take turns feeding from it underwater, and seagulls tend to flock around for scraps. After a lovely afternoon viewing the whales we headed to Race Rocks to find some cute Harbour Seals. The sun came out here and there and made the trip a wonderful time!