Humpbacks in the morning, killer whales in the afternoon. Whales all day baby, that’s how we roll!
We dealt with tricky foggy conditions all day, but every trip managed to find the patches in the fog, and whales in those patches!
Things got started in Vancouver with Ocean Magic speeding off the dock at 9am to try and catch up with reports of killer whales off Saturna Island. There Captain Gavin, and crew Brittany, Sharon, and Laurenne found the J16’s, a family group from J-pod that includes a female named Slick and her three kids Mike, Alki, and Echo. There were other members of J-pod there too, including Granny and Onyx!
Over on the Victoria side, Ocean Magic II was also out at 9am. Captain Scott, myself, and crew Lindsay and Rowan went out in search of humpbacks, and we found one right off of Race Rocks!
Two actually! A mom and calf. They were resting, which means they don’t dive, so they spend much more time all the surface, allowing us to follow them more easily, and giving regular photo opportunities. Then it was off to Secretary Island to see Harry Otter (who was wrapped up in kelp, taking a snooze!) and Race Rocks for the absurd number of Steller and California sea lions fighting for position on the rocks.
Zodiac skippers today were Rush, Bo, Torin, and Matt E, and they were on scene with humpbacks all day. Matt W took his first day off…ever! Hope you’re enjoying it Matty! (He reads these reports religiously)
It was on our middle trip that things got crazy. We found another humpback, one we’ve seen before named Split Fluke (imaginatively for a split in his flukes). And he was breaching!
Now, when I say breaching I don’t mean like once or twice. I mean continuously for maybe half an hour, taking breaks only to rhythmically slap his pectoral fins, dive, and breach again. My heart rate didn’t return to normal for the entire trip home. Coolest thing I’ve seen, IN. MY. LIFE.
I do have to take a moment and emphasize how rare this is. If you come out on a tour expecting a breaching humpback, you will likely be disappointed. However if you come out expecting to see wildlife do exactly what they want to do, you’ll always have a blast!
Later in the afternoon Ocean Magic II and the later zodiacs caught up those members of J-pod that had come down from Vancouver. We found them in the thickest fog ever, but managed to stick with them through the patches, and it made for a totally surreal experience. Passengers were thrilled to see these guys in such a unique setting and it made the trip feel really special.
Great day from start to finish, and I can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow!
By Jennifer Dickson