Sunday, January 31, 2010
Our I pm charter Zodiac with guest Nicole from Edmonton, Skipper Mark 'Mallard', Capt. Gord of the Ocean Magic, and Marie 'Orca-Magic', POW whale blog photographer, left the inner harbour to find J Pod Orca that had been reported earlier in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The conditions on the water were excellent for finding ORCA. Although there was some cloud overhead, it was indeed a very calm and unusually warm day for January. It wasn't long before the keen eyes of both Mark and Gord spotted the black dorsal fins of the Resident J Pod Orca, the fish eaters. Our experienced 'Naturalists' on board shared a wealth of knowledge with our guest, as we watched family groups of Orca swim past , heading toward the south west. We had initially located the J 42, J 26, J 14 and her family group 2-3 miles west of the ODAS buoy. The whales were spread out across the Strait and slowly heading west. Several mothers with their babies swam by. It was awesome to see the two tiny ones that were born during the last three months, one in November and the other, early this month. The oldest male J1, affectionately named Ruffles, is 59 yrs old, but can still chase salmon actively. He was off foraging by himself, then headed south against the backdrop of the Olympic mountains to follow the pod. Being able to commune for a while with this dearly loved Pod of whales was simply amazing. Our stay with these magical creatures was soon over. It had been another fabulous winter, wildlife adventure with 'Prince of Whales '.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Our intrepid 'Prince of Whales' skipper, Mark Malleson, seems to know instinctively where those whales are. Out there in all that west coast water these illusive animals can traverse the Strait of Juan de Fuca, while traveling in search of food. It was here, three miles south of Sheringham Lighthouse, that the 1pm Zodiac found a group of Transient Killer whales, T 30's with T172 today. These top predators were in hunting mode. We watched as these animals created swells, with their active behaviour around a little harbour seal. It appeared they were playing with it. Finally the four smaller whales headed off to join the big male who was heading further out west. Meanwhile, the seal was able to swim away. To conclude our westcoast wildlife trip we visited Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Here we viewed Steller Sea Lions in the water, and Harbour and 4 Elephant Seals, lounging on the rocks. A pair of Bald Eagles were also seen. Our happy, international guests from Australia, Germany, Holland, and Saskatchewan experienced a fun filled west coast adventure on a relatively mild, calm day in January.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Please note...most of the pictures that have been posted have been cropped and taken with 300mm-400mm lens to enable viewers to see the wildlife, ' up close and personal. '
January 2010 is turning out to be quite the month for spotting ORCA. It has been mostly the mammal eating killer whales that have been seen, so it seems they are out there any given day, but spotting them is all about LUCK and the keen eyes of the Skipper. That is exactly what happened January 12th. The 1pm Zodiac left the inner harbour under grey skies and exceptionally mild temperatures for this time of year. With the keen eyes of our experienced and knowledgable Skipper, Mark 'Mallard' surveying the westcoast scene, it wasn't long before we saw Bald Eagles, and Harbour Seals. We traveled south for a while on very cam water and then along the Metchosin and Sooke rugged coastline where we came across three Transient Orca. There were two big males and one female, later identified as BC Transients, T124C, T93 and T97. These are the apex hunters of the ocean. Eventually, after watching them for a while, they headed south east. We left them in ' traveling mode' while we made a quick visit to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve to view the Steller's Sea Lions. Although it started to rain on our return trip, our guests from Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Victoria were enthralled with the wildlife they had seen on their first trip with 'Prince of Whales'. It was yet another lucky wildlife adventure along BC's fabulous westcoast.