With reports of transient orcas heading towards Victoria from the Sidney area, we headed out of the harbour in great spirits. The weather was gorgeous and seas calm and blue. After a quick stop at Trial Island to spot some “rock sausages” or harbour seals as they are more commonly known, it didn’t take long to find the transients. They had crossed Baines Channel from the Ten-Mile-Point area of Vancouver Island and were on the east side of Discovery Island. Almost as soon as we found them they lunged out of the water, attacking what we soon found to be a stellar sea lion. Mom and calf repeatedly breached together, performing what are known as “body slams”, used to injure and tire prey. Stellars are large and can seriously injure an orca, so they toy with the prey until it is too exhausted to cause them harm. The group moved on without killing the sea lion. They either decided it was too big for them, or they were planning on coming back in a while when it was tired out. The group of transients, identified to be the T49’s and T36’s made several kills, and their young calf was rather bouncy – breaching, tail lobbing and rolling over the other adult whales. We left the transients after a beautiful spyhop and headed west to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Here we were able to see stellars and californian sea lions, as well as elephant seals and harbour seals. We also spotted a group of cormorants sunning on the rocks. It was a great trip and just one more reminder that amazing trips can happen at any point in the season!
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.