The 12:15 Ocean Magic tour headed out with grey skies and a slight chop on the water. We were told of a superpod along San Juan Island and all were in great spirits as we left the harbour and turned east. When we arrived in the area of the superpod, we were absolutely astounded to be greeted by some bow riding pacific white sided dolphins! These energetic dolphins are found in waters from California, north to Alaska, but are not often spotted in the inland waters of southern Vancouver Island. The entire crew was flabbergasted to be treated to such a close encounter. The dolphins were swimming back and forth between a few boats in the area, bow and wake riding and putting on a great aerial show. The dolphins would often try to follow us when we moved away, so we had to wait until they were distracted with another boat before we could move off to check out the resident orca superpod. We found part of J Pod in a resting formation, moving north up San Juan Island. Blackberry, a 21 year old male, and the “cookie” family group were travelling in close formation. The cookie group is so named because the informal names of each of the whales revolves around cookies! The orcas began to head in too close to shore for us to watch from an appropriate distance so we followed a rumour of transient orcas just west of Victoria. We scooted back around to Canadian waters and past Victoria harbour to find the T60 group of transients foraging along the shoreline. We were able to have a great encounter with these three whales before heading back to Victoria. Our trip was exceptional. It is rare to see so many types of cetaceans in one trip! Our guests were certainly spoiled today!
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.