We headed out with some of the most gorgeous weather all summer. Glass seas and beautiful skies made for a wonderful trip. Searching for transient, or mammal eating, orcas the Captain took the Ocean Magic II close to shore south towards Race Rocks. Transient orcas often hunt close to shore, silently sneaking up on seals near the shore. Though we did not find any, it was a beautiful coastline to follow with rocky shores and rugged forest. We rounded the corner and turned to the west, into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here we stood a good chance of finding humpback whales in the strait; and that we did! Shortly after rounding the corner, we spotted the large blow of a humpback whale ahead. It turned out to be the juvenile male known as Split Fin or less romantically, BCX 1068. Humpback whales are identified as individuals by the markings on their tail and catalogued with an ID number. Split Fin, is easier to spot however, because of the dramatic slash which split his dorsal fin in two. It was likely caused by a boat strike. After spending some time observing Split Fin travelling with a series of shallow dives and then a longer, deeper dive we headed over to Race Rocks where the male sea lion collony was raising a stink! Male california and stellar sea lions migrate to sea lion rookeries so that the females and pups can have more food back in their birthing grounds. The boys sure do create strong smell when off on their own though! We also spotted pacific harbour seals and a few elephant seals lounging on the rocks. The trip back was uneventful but smooth and all returned to Victoria with high spirits after such a great trip!
Most of the images on the blog are shot with a 400 mm & 600 mm telephoto lenses. Because of our restrictions around wildlife (100+ meters), we use powerful lenses to better share orca activity that passengers see on their trips. Keep in mind this also heavily compresses space between objects. We also crop images for best blog viewing.