August 3, 2019

Canadian Sunset Brings Bigg's Killer Whales

Orcas on Sunset Trip

Olivia | August 3rd, 2019 | M/V Sea Lion | 5:30pm

What an evening! We had a beautiful morning with two types of Baleen Whales (still in range) which made it an exceptional trip, and by the sunset trip, we found out about some Killer Whales sightings. The only problem was that they were just out of our range and we wouldn’t be able to make it within the 3-4 hour trip, and more importantly, back before it gets dark. We knew our passengers really wanted to see them, so with a lot of number crunching from the captain and radioing colleagues in the area via the PWWA repeater, we decided to have a group chat with our passengers and let them help us decide: travel an hour and 40 minutes one way on a very slim chance of seeing Orcas, or head south and see two different Baleen Whales. With a group consensus, we all decided to go for it!

Captain Gabe later told me he has never driven Sea Lion so far into Canada before, and as we were both white knuckling our binoculars, we [finally] found the Bigg’s Killer Whale family of T65A’s, minus T65A2. We were able to view them for about 6 minutes before they headed into another channel, caught the flood, and were out of our range once again. The cool thing about this? Everyone was thrilled! We had great views coming up on them with our small group all huddled at the bow. They dove and we assumed they were gone already, when all of a sudden, they popped up at our bow close enough to hear them breath and snap many photos. We actively keep a distance of 200m out of respect for these whales and to abide by federal laws, but this was an unbelievable, wild moment for our passengers.

One of the men on board thanked us deeply for doing everything we could to see them, he even exclaimed, “It’s not about the destination, but the journey itself. This is a heck of a beautiful evening.” That made my day. We even had a chance to catch glimpses of Harbor Porpoises on our way there. On the route back we stopped briefly at Spieden Island to see Mouflon Sheep, Sika Deer, and Fallow deer, in addition to Bald Eagles perched up in the pines. Another epic sunset trip in the books and an extra big thank you to Gabe for being an incredible Captain and coworker!