On Sunday afternoon Skipper Mark Malleson (aka Mallard) departed with a full boat holding 12 eager guests. They started their trip by heading west from Victoria, cruising past East Sooke Park, and continuing on to an area which is a personal favorite for Mark and an area that is often reliable for fall killer whale sightings. Although no whales were present on this trip, guests enjoyed scenic views of the rugged coastal landscapes and were lucky enough to see a wide selection of other marine mammals throughout their time on the water. The first species they encountered was a group of approximately a half dozen Dall’s porpoise(Phocoenoides dalli). On the way home the group encountered seals, sea lions, elephant seals and even a lone sea otter. All of these animals were seen in proximity to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve!
Our most recent tour departed on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00pm. This time, skipper Mark set out with a group of 6 guests! Even though the wind had been gusting and the fog had been rolling through in the early morning, the weather improved as the day progressed. The mix of an ominous overcast sky dotted with patches of sun breaking through the clouds made for enjoyable afternoon weather and the water remained placid throughout the entire trip!
Thanks to Ivan Reiff of Western Prince Adventures for passing along his sightings information revealing killer whales near Friday Harbour! After a short journey east into the adjacent American waters, Mark was able to catch up to approximately 20 transient orca (mammal feeding killer whale). Mark is one of the best at identifying these individuals and takes great pride in his ability to share detailed information about the individuals with each of his passengers. If you didn’t already know, Killer Whales are identified by the unique shape of their dorsal fin and the size, shape, and color of their saddle patch. Other distinct features and visible markings such as tooth marks and battle scars also aid in the identification process.
Shortly after their first encounter, the group was also able to locate the T100’s, T086A’s and the T124’snear Moresby Island late afternoon. Among these groups were many females along with their calves. On the way back to port Mark decided to take a scenic route along the coast line cruising past the towns of Swartz Bay and Sydney. Along the way, the group also made stop at Darcy Island to view a group of pinnipeds.
As is tradition at Prince of Whales, each of our guests were treated to a warm mug of hot chocolate upon their arrival back in the harbour. This is a cozy way to shake the chill after andextraordinary fall adventure and a great excuse to take a few extra minutes to share photos and stories with Captain Mark, myself, and the other guests on the tour.
The days are going by so fast and each day brings more daylight and warmer weather! Spring time is sure to bring great things, starting with Be a Tourist in Your own Home Town, running February 26th to March 1st. We will be offering whale watching on our zodiacs for $50.00 + GST per person. Boats will operate on the hour each hour from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
If you have not participated in this event before, visitwww.attractionsvictoria.com/be-a-tourist/to learn more. For $12.50, you receive a VIP playbookgranting you access to fantastic deals through Victoria. This is a great way to get out and explore Victoria with your family and friends. If you would like to join us whale watching, please remember to make a reservation as we are expecting to sell out.You can do so by calling us toll free 1.888.383.4884.