Sightings Report October 3

October 3, 2014

Flat calm and whales swimming along. It was a lovely day on the water today with incredibly smooth conditions and action packed trips all day!

Everybody had two trips today with Mark out at 10 and 2, Rush at 11 and 3 and Ocean Magic II with JeffmeCasey and Matt at 12:15 and 3:30.

Yesterday we picked up our resident killers whales hanging out around Race Rocks, indicating they were likely planning on leaving. Sure enough, last night J and K pod headed west, towards the open Pacific. They’ll do this more as we move into fall as fish stocks in the area decline, but generally they return every few days.

So today we focused on humpbacks, and found a lot of other stuff too! It was seriously an action packed day on the water. On the 12:15 trip, Ocean Magic II first stopped to investigate a humpback traveling slowly, just south of Victoria. The whale, I believe identified as BCY0769, was doing very shallow dives and spending lots of time at the surface i.e. the perfect humpback encounter. After everyone got their fill we moved on, into the land of no reports, just to see what we could find.

First we found another kettle of turkey vultures, easily 500 strong, in a dramatic spiral coiling above Beechy Head. Keen birders on board spotted two more vulture tornados as we travelled along! With our eyes cast skyward Captain Jeff slowly maneuvered the boat back towards the opening of Becher bay, when out of the corner of my eye I saw what he saw:

Animals in the water, moving so fast that their wake was more visible than the animals themselves. You guessed it. Pacific white-sided dolphins!

And no, I’m not done freaking out about these guys. Just as I will never get sick of killer whales, and never get tired of humpbacks, I will never cease to be amazed by not only the speedagility, and playfulness of white-sided dolphins, but simply by their presence in these waters. Today is was a group of about 20, and they rode our wake for almost 10 minutes before moving off to investigate Rush’s zodiac!

We moved off to investigate Secretary Island to see if Harry the sea otter was home. First we spotted a bald eagle in the trees above, and then Harrycontent as can be in his kelp bed below. We had time for another sighting of a different humpback before Race Rocks and home.

On the later trips we also managed to find some transient killer whales! We never have any idea when these guys are gonna pop up. Keep that in mind when booking, no orcas in the morning does not mean no orcas in the afternoon!

Two Ocean Magic II trips and 4 zodes on the books for tomorrow! Remember this is the last month for the big boat, so you better get out here.

By Jennifer Dickson