Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
Today was a beautiful fall day to spend the afternoon on the water! The Pacific Explorer whisked our guests east of the harbour where we found transient orcas within 20 minutes of leaving the dock! Now that is lucky! There were four of these mammal-hunting orcas stalking the shoreline of Victoria. They were likely looking for harbour seals to fill their hungry stomachs. Transient orcas need to eat between 200 and 300 pounds of food a day, the equivalent of 1-2 seals. Amongst the family there were three females and one adult male, who we soon identified as T-018, a female with two distinct nicks out of her dorsal fin, T-019, who is the mother of T-019B and T-019C, also amongst the group. T-019B is the big male, with a six foot dorsal fin that leans to the left. He was born in 1995 and his younger sibling was born in 2001. We watched as the whales made their way northeast, swimming right against the shoreline.
We decided to leave the orcas and keep making our way east, towards San Juan Island, where we found a humpback! Predator and prey in the same area! How exciting! Transient killer whales would not attack this large humpback, but they do go after young calves as they make their way north in the spring. The massive humpbacks are up to 48 feet long and can weigh as much as 40 tons. We watched as the whale surfaced, releasing massive plumes of mist, and everyone was amazed by the beauty of the humpback's tail fluke rising above the surface before it embarked on a long dive. After quality time spent with the humpback, we met up again with the transient orca group as they made their way east. Just when we were about to head back to Victoria, we noticed that the orcas were chasing a pod of Dall's Porpoise! It was intense, as the orcas would leap out of the water, landing on top on a jumping Dall's Porpoise! The chase led the whales in circles, but in the end, one porpoise did not have such a great day, but 4 orcas were fed. All part of the circle of life. We enjoyed our sunny ride back, as the waters were calm and everyone on board was filled with new memories!