The Noon Zodiac Adventure was set against clear skies as our intrepid skipper Shaun "Saltchuck" took us out of Victoria's picturesque inner harbour to the wonders of the strait of Juan De Fuca. We headed west along the rugged shores of Vancouver Island in our search for wildlife. Our first stop was off an Island know as Church Rock, where "Saltchuck" pointed out Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals and showed us Kelp Beds. Shaun's in depth knowledge of the marine environment is deep and his passion for everything wild was apparent as he spoke to us all about the pacific northwest's wildlife. We then headed to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and took in the sights and sounds of the Norther Stellar Sea Lion colony. Here we found scores of Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks wrestling for position. Our ride back to the harbor took us along the scenic shoreline of southern Vancouver Island. Such a great trip on a November day.
Photos by Clint "Orcawizard"
Friday, November 21, 2008
November continues to be relatively mild with less precipitation than normal, so it is a great month to see the amazing wildlife in these waters.The 1pm Zodiac left Victoria harbour under sunny skies with skipper James, 'Radar' at the controls. With a little texture on the water and minimal wind we headed south into the Strait of Juan de Fuca toward Constance Bank. We had visitors on board from New York, Ontario and Victoria. It wasn't too long before one of our passengers spotted an Orca, J1, affectionately called Ruffles. He was seen rising from the water not far from the Zodiac. He was alone and heading in from the west. We spent time with him, hoping to connect with the rest of J pod. There was no sign of them. A visit to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve gave our passengers good looks at Steller sea lions and Harlequin ducks. It wasn't until we were cruising back toward Victoria that several more members of J pod were seen. J 30 and J 33 were identified. Others were spread far out across the Strait. We left these magical creatures heading east. It was another exciting trip with Prince of Whales.
Photos by Marie"Orca-Magic"
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Our International travellers are still heading to the west coast of BC, in search of adventure. We had visitors from as far away as Australia as well as local residents on the 12 noon Zodiac trip, Sunday November 16th. With skipper Sean, ' Saltchuck ' at the controls we headed east due to the thickening fog bank out west. It was an excellent choice as we found good number of cormorants, Pellagic, and Brandt's as well as Steller Sea Lions lounging at Whale Rock, San Juan Island. Several of these huge mammals were in the water and curious about the Zodiac. Our skipper gave us an in depth account of the animals found in these waters. A number of Dall's Porpoise, and a Minke whale were sighted near Hannah Heights with another Minke reported at Beaufort Shoals, Haro Strait. One remained illusive but the other gave us good looks while it dove repeatedly for food. This couldn't have been a better day for exploring the wildlife, and the scenic beauty of this area. Conditions were perfect. The sea was calm with no apparent wind. We were even graced with a little sunshine to brighten this November day. Our visitors were all smiles as we headed back to Victoria. Photo's by Marie "Orca-Magic"
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Our 1:30 Zodiac Adventure was exactly that a true adventure. Skipper Shaun "Saltchuck" took our Zodiac "The Jester" into the wonders of Juan De Fuca strait. Keeping close to shore in search of the ever elusive Transient Killer Whales. On our trip Shaun took the time to explain the different types of Orca,transients and residents and the other whales that work our nutrient rich waters. As we hugged the shore line north along the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, we stopped off in a small bay and checked out a very picturesque waterfall. We even spotted Bald Eagles that were keeping a keen eye out for lunch. "Saltchuck" then took us past Secretary Island where we checked out the catch of a local fisherman who was having a great day on the water. The fog had started to roll in and we were about to head back and continue our search when deep in the fog "Saltchuck" spotted a pair of dorsal fins... He had found Orca!! So into the fog we went following these majestic animals as they worked the water. At one point we shut down the engines to listen for them only to hear the whales on either side of us. As we followed the whales along, the fog dispersed and were took in the sights and sounds of these Orca. Our trip then took us to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve to see the wildlife at this world renowned location. As the sun fell lower into the sky we made our way back to Victoria, a wonderful afternoon on the water was had by all. Photos by Clint "Orcawizard"
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Although skies in November are usually grey, and rain is often the norm for this time of year, there is always an adventure to be found. It was that sense of adventure that took visitors from as far away as Winnipeg, Australia, and the Netherlands out in a yellow ' Prince of Whales ' Zodiac. The 11am Sunday trip took us south into the Strait of Juan de Fuca in search of whales. With glimpses of sun between the clouds, and calm water all around, our visibility for observing whales was very good. Our experienced skipper, James ' Radar ' was at the controls. We scanned the horizon in every direction looking for Humpback whales that had been seen the day before. At one point while searching for the Humpbacks we were surrounded by six Harbour Seals. Unfortunately no Humpbacks were found. Instead, we came across 9 Transient Orca that were very active off Albert Head. These are the stealth hunters of the ocean, the top predators. Every behaviour of these magnificent mammals was observed, including breaching, Fluke waving, porpoising, cartwheeling, pec-slapping, backdiving. They were chasing small sea birds and were uncharacteristically noisy making sqeakes and whistles with their blow-holes. These female orca and their young appeared to be having a great time. This was an AMAZING encounter with Transient Orca. Our visitors really had a memorable experience.
Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic" and Clint "Orcawizard"
Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic" and Clint "Orcawizard"