Sightings Report June 28 – July 4

Helllllllo summer!

Wow! What a week! Resident killer whales every day, doing the San Juan shuffle, and humpbacks and minke whales coming out of the woodwork left, right, and centre.

The days of multi-species trips are upon us! This is actually early in the season for such a high success rate involving multiple species. Usually we don’t start getting large numbers of humpbacks until August, but their early appearance this year is not bothering anyone.

June wrapped up with an official success rate of 96% and July is off to a whopping 100% success rate for whale sightings! Yes, I know, we’re only 4 days in to July, but it’s still exciting ok?

We are firmly in our peak season now with things picking up both on the water and in the city of Victoria. This week we celebrated Canada Day, and every weekend brings in cruise ships, exciting festivals, and events in the downtown core. We couldn’t be more excited to be right in the thick of it; we really work in the best place in the world!

As far as whales go, we’ve been seeing mostly J-pod in recent days, with all 3 of their new babies looking happy and healthy! This week we also celebrated a joyous occasion. Granny, matriarch of J-pod and thought to be the world’s oldest killer whale, turned 104 years old! Check out our Facebook page for more info on her special day!

As things move forward in the summer we settle into a lovely consistency. The search for whales is not frantic, but more of a casual stroll, with whales almost around every corner. But one thing I love so much about my job is that things are never, ever the same.

Take today. This morning, on the 9:00am Ocean Magic II trip, we had a magical experience where we were practically alone with the whales. A few fishing boats here and there, but for the most part, just us and the orca, in the still morning air, and flat calm water. We shut the engines off and just floated for most of the trip with whales foraging beside us. Throw in a humpback on the return voyage and you’ve got a fabulous, serene morning trip.

On the 12:15pm trip, the whales got frisky! Instead of spread in groups of 2 and 3 the residents banded together and we saw them socializing in groups of 5 to 10. Breaches, cartwheels, spyhops, porpoising, you name it, these guys were doing it!

On the 3:30pm trip it was all business. They had moved further north throughout the day, but by late afternoon something changed and it became imperative that they move south. Now in their family groups, mothers and offspring swam side-by-side at incredible speeds. We were doing 9kts to keep up with them (typical traveling speed is 6-7)! Porpoising with the odd cartwheel and regular tail-slapping rounded out a perfect July day.

You never know what you’re going to get, but trust us, it’ll be awesome. Better get out here!

By Jennifer Dickson