With the promise of rough waters and only strong possibility of Orcas, we headed out from the harbour, greeted by whitecaps within the inner harbour itself! It wasn’t long however, before a tall black dorsal fin was spotted advancing towards us just south west of the San Juan Islands. This male orca turned out to be Blackberry (or J27) of the southern resident pods. He was travelling alone and taking long relaxed dives, with sporadic tail lobs – and one small breach. We soon noticed two orcas travelling tight to land – a mother and a year old calf. We left them shortly after finding them as they were travelling tight to land and to follow them could negatively affect their travel patterns. On our way back across open water we picked up Blackberry’s trail again and he swam alongside us for a good distance before taking a deep dive again. On our way back to the harbour we stopped in at the Oak Bay Islands Ecological Reserve, where we were treated to the sights of sunning harbour seals, gorgeous beaches and a family of canadian geese with a newly hatched batch of goslings. Along the Dallas Road stretch of beach two kite surfers took our presence as an opportunity to try out some new tricks, using our wake as a springboard for aerial acrobatics. Though the waters were rocky, with 5 foot swells at their tallest, the sun was shining and the whales came out to see us!
Marcia “Spirit-Orca” Marie “Orca-Magic”
Most of the images on the blog are shot with a 400 mm telephoto lens. Because of our restrictions around wildlife (100+ meters), we use powerful lenses to better share orca activity that passengers see on their trips. Keep in mind this also heavily compresses space between objects. We also crop images for best blog viewing.