Sightings Report June 14-23

June 23, 2015

As June winds down, it’s time start thinking about reflecting on what this month has been like, and as you can imagine, these things can be tough to sum up. This June has exceptional and exceptionally average in a few different ways.

What could I possibly mean by that? Well each month has a few characteristics that make it a special time of year. The wildlife are doing different things, conditions are variable, and even our passengers change as the summer rolls on.

June has been showing off everything it is famous for, with a few amazing treats thrown in. The westerly winds that typically dominate the forecasts this time of year have reared their ugly heads more than once. Fortunately we have those forecasts ahead of time and can predict at what times the conditions will be prohibitive to safe whale watching. We discourage passengers from booking at these times, meaning we rarely have to cancel due to conditions.

As an aside, remember to always follow the instructions of your booking agent when you receive conditions warnings or clothing recommendations. When we say it’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be COLD! Of course it wasn’t all bad, and some people live for the bumpy ride caused by wind and tide.

But anyways, on to the whales!

As is typical of June, the resident killer whales are becoming more and more common in the area, with members of all three pods now being spotted regularly. Of course resident isn’t a great name for the ecotype of orcas we see most commonly in the summer. They don’t live here year-round, and they don’t stay here permanently when they visit. They are constantly going in and out, and there were couple days recently when we missed them.

Thankfully, the transient killer whales have been around to pick up the slack and humpback numbers continue to increase steadily! One highlight this week was the return of T127 (pictured above). There aren’t very many whales that are as easily identifiable as him, and he is an absolute treat to observe. He’s just so tough looking!

The sea lions have all but left the area, heading up to their breeding grounds, but there still the odd old one or young one sticking around. And our new sea otter is still here! His preliminary name is Ollie, what do you guys think? Ollie the otter? Comment on any photo of his on Facebook with your name suggestion.

Today was probably not only a highlight of June, but of the year. We literally had whales everywhere (including the waterfront!)! Transients, multiple resident pods, and 7 humpbacks in the area! One trip saw all three kinds of whales! Madness. You know things are good when your most experienced skipper comes in beside himself with excitement. 

Of course we still have over a week left in June, and we can’t wait to see what else it has in store. We’re not tallying results quite yet, but we’ve starting to peek at what our success rate is likely going to be for the month, and it’s looking like ~95%!

Get out here for your own wet and wild adventure!

By Jennifer Dickson