This week saw the return of L-pod, hopefully for the long term, which is our largest family in the Southern Resident Killer Whale community. Up until this point we had only seen J-pod, and two brief visits from L-pod last week. And there were members of K-pod mixed in there as well! We don’t have any confirmed incidents of a super pod (which is all members of all three pods) but we’re getting closer!
It’s really starting to feel like summer with all the families coming back! And the weather is cooperating as well, it’s been non-stop sunshine all week! We did have a few rough days of wicked westerly winds coming in, and one day where we had to cancel a couple of trips, but in general, it’s been whales and wonderful weather all week.
Our residents have been hanging out in some of their favourite spots, as well as branching out into some new areas. We made a big run to Rosario Strait to catch up with J-pod as well as a couple of humpbacks on June 8th. San Juan Island has been its usual hive of activity, and we’re always keeping our eyes to the west, waiting on the last few members of the rezzies to come it.
The humpbacks are slowly increasing their numbers as well. Heather and her calf were spotted again, and Big Mama is moving steadily closer to Victoria. The humpbacks were really enjoying a spot called East Pt on Saturna Island earlier in the season, which is a long run for us. But this week they are settling into their favourite spots closer to Victoria.
Today was a great example of what a typical trip has been this week (that is to say, exceptional!). We had reports this morning that “many whales” were outbound off of Sooke. That means they’re west of Victoria, and heading west. Not great news. BUT, we knew there was an flood tide coming in, and these guys rarely waste energy traveling against the tide, so we were hopeful they’d turn around.
Sure enough, they did a big 180° turn and came right back to Victoria. Ocean Magic II had a magical 12:15 trip, first sighting Big Mama, and then moving on to L-pod resting near Race Rocks. I think my favourite thing in the world is watching L-pod rest. Under no other circumstances will you see more whales in one look.
Simply breathtaking. Then it was on to Race Rocks where we saw what have to be the last 3 sea lions in the area! As well as a couple of elephant seals, tons of harbour seals, and the new sea otter. He really needs a name. Check out our photos on Facebook and comment with a name suggestion!
Summer is in full swing. You better get out here and experience it for yourself!
By Jennifer Dickson