After a full 12:15 Ocean Magic trip, which saw resident orcas spread across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the 3:30 Ocean Magic headed out with reports of transient orcas just outside the Victoria harbour a little ways. We soon encountered the T10 group of transients, a 49 year old female with a large nick in her dorsal fin, and her two sons, who are 29 and 14 years old. The three were circling Trial Island waiting to catch unsuspecting seals off guard for an easy dinner. While we were watching it looked like they managed to have two for dinner, though little of the feeding process can be seen above water. Once they had their fill at Trial Island, the trio swam past the Victoria Golf Club, giving the golfers on course a wonderful view and headed towards Oak Bay. At this point we left the orcas and traveled to Race Rocks to view the four species of pinniped that call these waters home. These include harbour seals, elephant seals, stellar sea lions and californian sea lions. At this point in the season all the male sea lions have headed here, and other haul outs in BC, to get away from the women for a time, while the females raise their pups. While here, they battle for dominance, eat and sleep. We also spotted some cormorants sunning on the island which was a special treat! On our way back to Victoria, two harbour porpoises made a brief appearance, but these are notoriously shy animals and soon ducked underwater and disappeared from view. It was a great day on the water – Transients close to home, lots of activity at Race Rocks, and beautiful weather!
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.