Our 12:15 tour started with the promise of transient orcas not far off from Victoria within the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Before we reached them though, we were surprised by Dall’s Porpoise riding our bow! Porpoises are some of the fastest moving creatures of the sea and often race up to boats to play in their wake and bow waves. They will also take off again without a warning, which they did not too long after their arrival. Captain Gord slowed the boat down to a crawl once they were spotted, but they delighted passengers nonetheless, weaving up and around the boat and off a little ways before zipping back over for another go. Dall’s porpoises are not often seen as they are shy and very fast moving. Harbour porpoises are more numerous but smaller and harder to spot in the water. Along with the 4 dall’s porpoise, there was one Dall/Harbour Porpoise hybrid. These two species do occasionally interbreed and the result is a grey, lightly patterned mid size version of the two species. Dall’s porpoise and harbour porpoise are the smallest cetaceans to swim in our waters. When the porpoises left we continued to the transients seen on a previous trip. They were swimming in a faily close group, coming up at regular intervals. There was even a one year old youngster in the group! We followed the mammal eating orcas for a while – who were not interested in eating at the time (They passed by several seals and harbour porpoise in the Strait) before heading west in search of humpback whales on our way to Race Rocks. A juvenile humpback known as Split Fin was seen in the same area yesterday, but he was no where to be seen today. At Race Rocks we observed all four species of pinnipeds native to BC waters, including: Stellar and Californian sea lions, harbour seals and elephant seals. The sea lions were raising quite a smell, but a good breeze off the water kept it manageable! With beautiful, calm waters and gorgeous sunny skies, as well as several different species sightings – today is not one that will be forgotten soon!
Most of the images on the blog are shot with a 400 mm & 600 mm telephoto lenses. 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.