Thursday, August 31, 2006
This afternoons trip both Ocean Magic's and several of the zodiac vessels, headed out in search of transient killer whales - meat eating orcas who are this planets top predator. Boats went in different directions and alas the T's are found. And apparently not far from them was a minke whale (possible food for transients). The 3 transients (Male T44, Female T41 and jouvenile T41a) traveled calmly northwards up Haro Strait. We left the group and took a peek at some of the harbour seals lazying in the sun near Discovery Island.
This evenings trip surprized us with 2 humpback whales just south of Discovery Island. I only saw one. And not far from them (mins only) were the 3 transient orcas coasting VERY close to the shoreline. They zig zagged a bit, disappearing for long dives and reappearing very far away. They seem to speed travel underwater. It seems to me that they were definately checking out the dinner menu for this evening however we did not get to see the main course ;) We scooted over to Race Rocks ecological reserve and found a rather large group of california sealions sprawled all over the main island rather then their usual haul outs. It is speculated that the many transient killer whale visits over the past few days, could have something to do with it!
Beautiful, flat and calm. Quite the contrast from our recently gale force adventurous seas!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
On today’s noon trip aboard the Ocean Magic II we met up with transient killer whales a couple miles south of Race Rocks. T63 and the T41 group were taking long dives and heading in a southeasterly direction through the choppy swells. A couple of the whales spy hopped and another flung its tail high into the air. On the way back to Victoria we stopped at the Ecological Reserve to view pinnipeds. A couple of the California sea lions had tracking numbers that will enable researchers to identify their migratory habitats.
Monday, August 28, 2006
L12's were sleeping near the San Juan Island shoreline when we arrived on scene. Soon after the group awoken and moved south. The animals moved in hunting patterns and then eventually into speed porpoising. The group split apart while traveling, several of the animals became quite active breaching, cartwheeling, tail lobbing and so on. Mega L41 singled off by himself as we departed. Saw Ken Balcomb for the Center for Whale Research as they were out documenting. On our way across the quite adventurous Victoria waterfront, we were pleasently surprized by 3 transient killer whales (1 large male and 2 smaller females) speed porpoising across the large 5 foot waves working against them. Guests onboard got action packed views of the oceans top predator as they sped into the sunlight towards the west. What a great adventure!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Today all 3 pods traveled in from the west passing Trial Island and then across the Haro Strait. Each pod was traveling in it's own tight group. I assume K's were ahead as we watched all of J and L pod make their way over to their summer feeding grounds of San Juan Island. Not in all my years of whale watching have I seen such tight groupings. Near the end we saw the pooper scooper dog onboard a NOAA research boat sniffing out whale scat for research sampling. Stunning to say the least!
Friday, August 25, 2006
On the noon trip aboard the Ocean Magic we met up with the L12’s along the west side of San Juan Island. The whales were spread out foraging in a northerly direction. The 78 year-old female Oceansun / L25 was seen a bit further offshore and spouting male Skana / L79 was seen traveling with his mom Sprit / L22. In the afternoon, the whales were now heading back south still foraging and milling about Salmon Bank. We passed by the marker buoy and found some cormorant babies tucked away in nests.