Sunshine and zodiac tours watching transient Orcas - what a perfect start to this Sunday!
It has been a week of J-Pod Orcas!
J-Pod joined us this week! We had a huge number of Orca identifications including Mike (J26), Oreo (J22), Cookie (J38), Doublestuf (J34), Backberry (J27), Polaris (J28), and her calf Star (J46). Nigel (L95) was also spotted on a number of the tours this week. Transients were sighted on the last day of the week. We were also able to see a Minke Whale, and of course so much of the other amazing wild life in our area including Harbour Seals, Northern Elephant Seals and Stellar Sea Lions.
There are significant differences between Transient Orcas and Resident Orcas. Transient Orcas eat only marine mammals where Resident Orcas eat Chinook and Chum Salmon. Transient Orcas travel in small groups of three to five whales where Resident Orcas travel in large groups of up to fifty whales! Only rarely are residents and transients found within miles of each other. Usually, as the larger groups of residents approach, transients reverse course or slink into the rocky shorelines; and even if they are clearly aware of each other, almost no hostilities have been reported.
In 38 years of continuous studies, only one aggressive encounter has been witnessed. Ten members of J pod were spotted racing south at 10 – 12 knots towards Descano Bay on Gabriola Island. The Orcas appeared to be worked up about something and were bunching together and charging straight at the beach at high speeds. Three Transient Orcas then appeared and fled towards the shoreline with J pod in hot pursuit. It appeared as if J pod were trying to push the transient orcas against the rocks. Then the rumble started, it only lasted a few minutes, but there was much white water spraying with intense noise and whistles. The transient orcas fled the scene with noticeable marks from the altercation. It was obvious the Transients got their butts kicked!