Sightings Report

March 23, 2015

Spring break is a busy time for us, and it’s always so wonderful to see so many young people visiting the city with their families! These last few weeks have been delightful on the water (when the weather is being our friend, that is!). Spring whale watching is a blast because, with each sighting, you know you’re getting a little bit closer to summer… J-Pod even made an appearance last week with both new calves in tow.

Here is an update on what’s been happening:

We have had Transient Killer Whales around on and off, and you never quite know what you’re going to get with them. Transients are far more unpredictable than Resident Killer Whales due to the fact that their prey are intelligent (seals, sea lions, porpoise, etc), and can pick up on the presence of a killer whale much easier than a salmon can! Therefore, the whales must make themselves practically unnoticeable in order to be able to sneak up on their prey. This makes it extra special when we find them, because they are arguably the most inconspicuous of all the whales that we see (unless they’re hunting!!!). Seeing them around has been great fun.

J-Pod also travelled through the Salish Sea last week, and we had the pleasure of seeing them on Wednesday. Due to the high mortality rate of new calves in the Southern Resident Killer Whales, we always keep our fingers crossed that said calves will return with the pod in fine form. And sure enough, both J50 and J51 were present, and appeared to be healthy and full of life! On this specific day, both skippers Matt and Rush were able to treat their passengers to a Big Mama sighting as well (one of our most beloved Humpbacks), which Rush referred to as the “dessert sighting” after the incredible main course of getting to see two new killer whale calves!

And then, yesterday, I had the pleasure of heading out on the water for the first time in a few months, and it was what could only be categorized as a glorious early spring trip. Skipper Rhonda and I took our passengers on a classic wildlife tour, looking at multiple eagles, seals, and sea lions. We even made an attempt to spot the Discovery Island wolf! Sadly, she was not around, but it’s always worth a try.

We then zipped up Haro Strait, where we encountered Big Mama again, and observed her resting behaviour while we drifted along in the glass-calm waters just west of San Juan Island. She is continuing to make Haro Strait her temporary home, which has been wonderful for us. We hope to see more of her!

And just like that, I can officially say that whale watching season is right around the corner!! In fact, our darling flagship Ocean Magic II will be back in the harbour and ready to go on April 1st. We can’t wait.