Sightings Report October 1

October 1, 2014

It was another breezy but beautiful day on the water today. We had the whole fleet out at 12pm to investigate more reports than we knew what to do with!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great dilemma to have, but when you have reports of a humpback whale and white sided dolphins in one direction, and killer whales in the opposite direction, it was can be a tricky call to make. But as you’ll see, everything worked out better than we could have imagined.

Killer whales are always our priority. They are what people come to the west coast to see, so we stuck to our guns and headed east, over to San Juan Island. By we I mean Mark and Rush on zodiacs, and JeffMatt and myself on Ocean Magic II.

On the way over, we made a quick detour to check out a submarine in stealth mode (it didn’t appear on our RADAR) chilling in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, before continuing north to find J-pod! We saw Blackberry again; seriously, I don’t know what it is about this whale, but he’s everywhere!

These guys were spread out foragingzig-zagging along the shoreline, when all of a sudden, we spotted a smaller, lighter coloured fin. You guessed it, Pacific white-sided dolphins! No one knew they were there, what a surprise!

After a quick stop at Trial Island to view some harbour seals we thought we were done for the day, until a call came in…

As the season starts to wind down, Ocean Magic II trips will drop down to just one departure a day, the 12:15pm. As we didn’t have a 3:30pm trip scheduled today, we decided to extend the 12:15pm trip for half an hour and bag some humpbacks!

It was rough getting out to were the humpbacks were (just 15min off of Victoria), but wow, was it worth it. We spotted not one, not two, but three humpbacks and one of them was lunge feeding! This is an outstanding behaviour where the whale lunges forward at the surface with its mouth agape, fish fleeing in all directions. 

These guys were feeding around a bait ball, which is a school of fish at the surface that attracts birds. There are few things more spectacular than witnessing hundreds of birds taking flight simultaneously to make way for a whale lunging through them.

The bait ball also attracted a few Dall’s porpoise, which was the cherry on top of a mind-blowing day.

Don’t you just love it when things work out that way? Thanks wildlife!

By Jennifer Dickson