September 13, 2017
Humpback Whale near Victoria and Transient Orcas Travel to Cattle Point
[Naturalist Erick D., M/V Sea Lion, 8/31/17, 1:30PM]
On Thursday, Captain Pete, Rachel, and I took a great group of folks out on a wildlife watching adventure! We started out by heading west towards Vancouver Island to search for large baleen whales to the south of the Canadian city of Victoria. After crossing Haro Strait we saw a blow off in the distance! As we got closer we saw a small Humpback Whale swimming near Constance Bank. This one was a young one, but that still means it was around 35-40 feet long. Humpback Whales, during this time of the year, are all heading south towards their respective breeding areas. We watched this little guy for a while as it swam west.
We left that little guy and headed back east. Before going back through Cattle Pass there was a group of Transient (Bigg’s) Orcas spotted at MacArthur Bank. Transient Orcas are the ecotype which prey on marine mammals. This family was the T060’s and they were travelling from MacArthur Bank towards Long Island just south of Lopez Island. The T060’s are a pretty cool family of five orcas. The matriarch, T060, has two adolescent male sons, T060C & T060D, and two juvenile children, T060E & T060F. We watched them as they traveled towards the southern coastlines of San Juan and Lopez Islands. This brought us to near the end of our trip, but we took one more stop at Whale Rocks to look at some of the prey species of Transient Orcas. Whale Rocks is a favorite place for Harbor Seals and Steller Sea Lions to haul out. It is always one of my favorite parts to see these blubbery, adorable pinnipeds sleep and squirm on the rocks here. Whale folks that’s it until next time.