The thing about wild life viewing is you don’t know what you’re going to find. This means that once in a while we do not find any killer whales or other cetaceans on our trip. Today was one of those days. However, that being said, one can still really enjoy the adventure while finding other kinds of wildlife – which there is plenty of out there. That is what makes our pacific coast so amazing. We were the first whale watching boat out today so we went in search of killer whales on the way to Race Rocks ecological reserve. Upon arriving there, we found approximately 6 Elephant seals and 2 Stellar sealions not to mention tons of harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. There was a huge gathering of Pelagic Cormorants on one of the rocks as well. We then headed east through Juan de Fuca Strait towards San Juan Island – the typical feeding grounds of the southern resident killer whales. We did not find any orca so we looped around to Discovery Island near Oak Bay in Victoria to take a look at the preserved beauty. Passengers were thrilled to see a Great Blue Heron,
Tag: ocean magic
The Ocean Magic set out at 12:15 with lots of eager passengers in search of killer whales. As there have been transient (meat eating) killer whales sighted in the area over the past few days, we were certain we’d find more today however we were one of only a handful of whale watching boats out there so we were pretty much on our own to find them out in that vast ocean of ours. With captain Anthony at the helm along with whale “manifester” Mallard (who made a guest appearance), naturalist Liz and Biologist Mika, along with bloggers Orca Wizard and Orca Magic, we headed east through thick clouds into open sun as we went north in Haro Strait. Along our travels passengers were delighted to see a variety of other wild life such as harbour seals, California Sealions, a pair of bald eagles and other sea birds. Just after an hour into our travels as we were nearing Active Pass, we heard that Jpod, our resident killer whale pod had been sighted just minutes from us! So we did a u turn and only minutes later found Jpod members spread apart traveling south west in Swanson Channel just South of Pender Island.
Captain Anthony slipped the Ocean Magic from its berth in Victoria’s inner harbour and took us out into the Salish Sea. Our trip took us east to Chatham and Discovery islands. Here the marine life was everywhere, harbour seals, blue herons, eagles and cormorants. We then crossed Haro Strait and headed to Whale Rock, this small island was home today to many Stellar Sea Lions and a pair of Bald Eagles. We also caught sight of Harbour Porpoise near the island. Our sharp eyed crew then spotted a huge group of Bald Eagles on a small nearby island, we slowly approached and observed over 20 Bald Eagles resting, flying and playing in the wind. Truly amazing. This was great wildlife viewing experience, our talented crew of Mika, Mark and Dan kept us informed of all we saw and answered all the questions posed by our passengers. Yet another wonderful time of the water with Prince of Whales!
Please note, all of the photographs are taken with telephoto lenses and are heavily cropped.
It was a gorgeous afternoon when Capt. Anthony and crew members, Mika and Dan headed the Ocean Magic out of the harbour and turned west. After only 20 mins of travel, we were pleasantly surprised to encounter a foraging Gray Whale just off the Victoria waterfront. We watched this large Baleen Whale take 2-3 breaths at the surface and then lift its ‘ Flukes ‘ to indicate it was heading down for a deep dive. We watched with interest for a while and then received word that Orca had been seen at the north end of Haro Strait. We left the Gray whale and headed east and then north under blue skies. The calm water made for a comfortable ride so our guests were able to catch sight of a few Steller Sea lions and Dall’s Porpoise chasing after fish. We found the picturesque scenery stunning on route. Our black and white friends, the ORCA, were soon encountered. These were some of the members of J Pod, the fish eating killer whales that frequent these waters. They were observed to be traveling very slowly, in a resting formation, heading toward Boundary Pass. On two occasions we saw ‘spy-hop’
The Ocean Magic slipped from the dock in Victoria’s Inner Harbor at 1 pm. Our Skipper Anthony took the Ocean Magic past the Victoria Breakwater and headed east. The clouds parted and the sun warmed us as we worked our way past the waterfront. Out trip then took us past Oak Bay and out past Kelp Reef then up Haro Strait. Here we cam across the Killer Whales of J Pod along with L87 from L Pod. These are Southern Resident Orca, the fish eaters. They were all spread out in small groups over an area of a few miles. Our skipper carefully put us in great position to view these amazing Killer Whales as they worked the waters in search of food. We had a great pass of two Mothers with their youngsters swimming along in their wake, taking advantage of the slip stream to save energy. We then made our way back to Victoria and along the way we spotted Dalls Porpoise, these 300 to 400 pound cetaceans zip through the water sending a rooster tail of water up as they break the surface to breath. Mother nature gave us a great March day, sunny, calm seas and a great wildlife show with Orca,
Yet another perfect sunny, flat, calm warm day. Ok, so it’s not summer warm but it’s warm enough that when the sun shines on you, you don’t need your hat and coat out on the water! We departed the Victoria inner harbour intending to head east to where we heard there were orca off San Juan Island and possibly a superpod. Imagine that in the middle of October. On our way, we came across 2 humpback whales hanging around just a few miles south of Victoria in the Juan de Fuca Strait. We stopped to watch a few of their dives and magnificent tails before heading east. On our way to the orcas, we found a mother and calf humpback whale pair swimming a couple of miles off San Juan Island. The humpbacks have been hanging around in Haro Strait recently (usually over in Juan de Fuca), I am sure this has been very exciting for our friends across the boarder!
We arrived at San Juan Island / Henry Island to find members of Lpod and possibly Kpod and Jpod. Passengers got views of some of the youngsters breaching and traveling with their parents. We were fortunate to get a look at one of the new calves L115 + mom L47.
Capt. Anna headed the 12.15pm Ocean Magic west of the harbour to encounter three Humpback Whales that had been reported off shore, east of Race Rocks. It was one of those grey, October days however there were plenty of visitors to the west coast that wanted to board the Ocean Magic vessel, to seek and enjoy some of the incredible wildlife to be found in these waters. Conditions were relatively calm this afternoon so it wasn’t long before we saw the big bushy blows of these huge whales. Two adult Humpbacks were taking long dives and then surfacing for four to five breaths. They would lift their majestic flukes high in the air and then down they would dive. We could see another smaller Humpback off in the distance so we headed over to watch this young calf forage for a while, then headed to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve to enjoy the many Steller and California Sea Lions lounging on various rocks. There were many sea birds on rocks and in the water this afternoon, adding interest to yet another great wildlife adventure with ‘Prince of Whales ‘.
Today on this October day (but what felt like a spring or summer day) Captain Gordon and crew departed for the Juan de Fuca Strait where we found transient killer whales and they were on long drives. From there we decided to check out the Race Rocks ecological reserve where passengers got a look at the seals, sealions and bird life there. We then departed to find humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swimming calmly together. Not far from them were the T2’s transient killer whales. The group contained adults with one bull and a calf. They split into two groups and appeared to be in a foraging behavior, although we did not see any predation at the surface. After enjoying the perfect sunshine and awesome viewing conditions, we finalized our trip by checking out the Gray whale who was hanging around Enterprise channel and very close to the Victoria shoreline. Today was a perfect October day.
With dynamic skies over the Olympic Mountains, Washington, the Saturday 12.15pm Ocean Magic vessel set sail and headed south then in an easterly direction toward Hein Bank where it was reported many Orca were foraging. We found them amid the chop on the water, slowly foraging and spread far apart . We could see the Southern Resident community of whales, the fish eaters, in every direction. They were taking deep dives and a few young males could be seen chasing fish. A change in the wind and sea conditions dictated we needed to head back to Victoria where conditions were better. A few Harbour Porpoise were also seen on our return. It was an exciting trip just watching those majestic ‘Orca ‘do their own thing.
Marie,’ Orca-Magic’ and Clint, ‘Orcawizard’
Our skipper, Capt. Scott slipped the Ocean Magic from its slip in Victoria’s inner harbour, and took us out into the wild blue of the strait of Juan De Fuca, Here he put us in perfect position to view one of nature wonders, the Transient Orca, or Killer Whale. This was T14 Pender, and adult Male Killer Whale. He travels the waters of Vancouver Island, in search of his favorite food, harbour seals. We enjoyed his presence, and view him as he worked the clear water off Victoria. Capt Scott then took us to view not one, not two but three Humpback Whales. This mother and calf were being shadowed by an adult male. The three were working the water, playing and rising for air. It was a joy to watch them swim the water and raise their tales for deep dives. Always a pleasure to see these gentle giants of our oceans. Our crew of Rhonda, Mika and Dan filled our passengers with information and their love of our marine wildlife came through in every word. Our trip then took us to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, here Stellar Sea Lions, California Sea Lions and Harbour Seals were in abundance.