Sightings Report September 22

September 22, 2014

I’ll have to look through the books to confirm this statement, but my gut tells me today may have been the widest variety of cetaceans we’ve seen this year. Maybe ever!

I know, I know, that’s quite the declaration but hear me out. This morning Mark was out at 9:30 and he followed reports of resident killer whales way out west. As the day wore on, these whale got too far away for us to find. But we found some other, equally cool stuff.

Rush was out at 11:30, shortly followed by Ocean Magic II at 12:15. On board was JeffCaseyRowan and me. We followed up on reports of some very cool animals that you’ve heard me mention (or rather, freak out about) only a couple of times before: Pacific white-sided dolphins!

Now we’ve seen these guys more this year than ANY other year and even then, it’s only been a couple of animals, a couple of times. Today was different. We had an entire pod, a reported 40 dolphins, feeding in a bay just around the corner from Race Rocks!

Matt (who was on a 12 zodiac) said it was the “first time I’ve seen more than a solitary Pacific white-sided dolphin. Still seeing new things after more than 600 trips.” That’s the ocean for you. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you realise you haven’t even scratched the surface.

After the dolphins we went to check out a couple of humpbacks chilling in the middle of the strait, a HUGE pod of harbour porpoise (Jeff thinks over 100) and finally Race Rocks which again had all 4 pinniped species: harbour seals, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, and Northern elephant seals. We also had some Black oystercatchers fly around the boat!

On the way to see the humpbacks on our 3:30 trip, we got the call that someone had picked up 3 transient killer whales! So we altered course and spent a lovely half an hour watching the T010’s, a small family consisting of a mother and two sons. They were hanging out in the same bay we had the PWS dolphins, which were nowhere to be found. Smartly so, as they could have been on the menu otherwise!

After the killer whales we had just enough time to check out Split Fin, one of our favourite humpbacks feeding in a massive bait ball off of Trial Island. And while we’re waiting for him to resurface, what should appear, but a Minke whale!

So ya. Cetaceans sighted: Resident killer whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, humpback whales, harbour porpoise, transient killer whales and a Minke whale.

Crazy day. We’ve got some rain forecast for tomorrow, but that’s what the covered boat is for! See you out there!

By Jennifer Dickson