Our Friday Ocean Magic Adventure was simply amazing. Our Skipper Gord slipped the Ocean Magic out of Victoria’s inner harbour and out into the Strait Of Juan De Fuca. Here just a few miles from Victoria we were on scene with Transient Killer Whales. This group of six whales were milling around in the one area. As we took in the view we had to reposition as a large freighter worked by us. Once it had past the one male Orca started surfing in the wave created by the freighter. He surfed in the wave with his large dorsal fin ripping the water and leaving a great spray. Then he breached clear of the wave twice. Simply spectacular! This was my first time seeing a Transient Orca surfing in a wave, it was amazing. After viewing this group of six Killer Whales we headed through Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Here the Stellar Sea Lions were everywhere, on the rocks, in the water. We also viewed California Sea Lions and Harbour Seals. Our adventure then took us to view a Humpback Whale. This gentle giant was leisurely swimming though some kelp in a tideline. It was rolling and playing in the kelp,
Well today we set out at 2 pm on a Zodiac Adventure – it was a perfect day once again! Today I was operating 3 different video cameras; a new GoPro HD video camera (wide angle view), and my two other usual HD video cameras hence all the video clips today. I was testing out the new camera and I just love it. So we went in search of 2 transient orcas named T20 & T21 who is a mother and son pair. He is easy to identify because of the notch in his dorsal fin. The conditions were superb so it was an awesome and refreshing 1 hour ride – we ended up very close to Sidney (Stuart Island) where the pair were seen traveling together. They were not doing anything else behavior wise however their blows created these magical suspended like mists in the distance. After observing them we headed down into Haro Strait where we encountered a couple of Dalls porpoise who swam along side of us for a time being. It was a great photographic opportunity with the new camera which is a 170 degrees fish eye point of view.
Yet another perfect sunny, flat, calm warm day. Ok, so it’s not summer warm but it’s warm enough that when the sun shines on you, you don’t need your hat and coat out on the water! We departed the Victoria inner harbour intending to head east to where we heard there were orca off San Juan Island and possibly a superpod. Imagine that in the middle of October. On our way, we came across 2 humpback whales hanging around just a few miles south of Victoria in the Juan de Fuca Strait. We stopped to watch a few of their dives and magnificent tails before heading east. On our way to the orcas, we found a mother and calf humpback whale pair swimming a couple of miles off San Juan Island. The humpbacks have been hanging around in Haro Strait recently (usually over in Juan de Fuca), I am sure this has been very exciting for our friends across the boarder!
We arrived at San Juan Island / Henry Island to find members of Lpod and possibly Kpod and Jpod. Passengers got views of some of the youngsters breaching and traveling with their parents. We were fortunate to get a look at one of the new calves L115 + mom L47.
Today on this October day (but what felt like a spring or summer day) Captain Gordon and crew departed for the Juan de Fuca Strait where we found transient killer whales and they were on long drives. From there we decided to check out the Race Rocks ecological reserve where passengers got a look at the seals, sealions and bird life there. We then departed to find humpback whales, a mother and calf pair swimming calmly together. Not far from them were the T2’s transient killer whales. The group contained adults with one bull and a calf. They split into two groups and appeared to be in a foraging behavior, although we did not see any predation at the surface. After enjoying the perfect sunshine and awesome viewing conditions, we finalized our trip by checking out the Gray whale who was hanging around Enterprise channel and very close to the Victoria shoreline. Today was a perfect October day.
With dynamic skies over the Olympic Mountains, Washington, the Saturday 12.15pm Ocean Magic vessel set sail and headed south then in an easterly direction toward Hein Bank where it was reported many Orca were foraging. We found them amid the chop on the water, slowly foraging and spread far apart . We could see the Southern Resident community of whales, the fish eaters, in every direction. They were taking deep dives and a few young males could be seen chasing fish. A change in the wind and sea conditions dictated we needed to head back to Victoria where conditions were better. A few Harbour Porpoise were also seen on our return. It was an exciting trip just watching those majestic ‘Orca ‘do their own thing.
Marie,’ Orca-Magic’ and Clint, ‘Orcawizard’
Today the ocean magic set out in search of orca. On route to San Juan Island, we crossed several groups of harbour porpoises. These are small grey cetaceans who resemble a small dolphin. We arrived at Hein Bank where we observed a Minke whale which is a baleen whale about 30 feet in length. The animal was milling about and seemed to be in a feeding mode. We carried on to the Lime Kiln park area of San Juan Island where we observed members of Jpod and Lpod heading south. I noticed Ruffles (J1) traveling alone along the shoreline, I wonder if those people at Lime Kiln got a good look at him. Passengers on board got a good look at a few large males including; Gaia (L78) and Blackberry (J27) amongst other orcas such as Wave walker (L88). Thanks to Marie who had her orca chart with her today and was able to ID some of the animals we observed. It’s pretty awesome to see the orcas hanging around their favorite stomping grounds in October, hope we have many more days with them this year 🙂
Today with perfect weather conditions (again) captain Anna Hall and her crew set off in search of whales. We learned that Lpod was making their way across the Victoria waterfront and were westbound in addition to that, there were a handful of humpback whales also sighted in the Juan de Fuca Strait. We were not even 15 minutes out of the inner harbour when we came across 1 humpback whale known as Bart or Split Fin (named because his dorsal has a particular shape). He seemed to be busy milling about, we stayed with him for a few mins. We headed south to Race Rocks where passengers were introduced to the various sealions and seals and the ecological reserve and light house. Several sealions were splashing about in the water, jumping and hanging out in groups. We proceeded to the east where members of Lpod were westbound in the Juan de Fuca Strait. We had a surprise pass by one of the larger males L89 who I just luckily managed to capture on video. We stayed with them watching them travel, some in groups others quite spread apart. Several lunges and tail slaps were observed. We then departed the orcas and found two other humpback whales milling as well.
We set out on this perfect October day in search of 2 transient killer whales; T20 and T21. We caught up to them traveling eastward in the Juan de Fuca Strait not far from the southern portion of San Juan island. The mother and son pair were observed in traveling mode. We headed westward in search of humpback whales and sealions. We arrived to find 1 small humpback 2 miles west of the Race Rocks ecological reserve. The animal was shallow diving, and seemed very calm. No activity from this youngster on our trip! On our way home, we stopped in at Race Rocks and checked out the seals and sealions hauled out on the rocks. Today’s weather was picture perfect which gave passengers an awesome opportunity to capture the epic scene west coast natural world and the wildlife that resides within it. I hope this weather holds up!
Zodiac Wildlife Adventure
We set off at 3 pm with Radar at the helm on what felt like a perfect summer day! Conditions were perfect for a zodiac adventure and I was long over due. On today’s trip we headed east to Henry Island where members of Lpod were widely spread across Haro Strait. Guests had their breaths taken away by one of the largest males – Mega L41 who’s own breath and dorsal fin cut through the water so perfectly. Breaths were all around us. A bit further into the distance, we caught glimpses of two orca playing; either mother and calf or a calf and another older orca (who I was unable to identify as today I was shooting HD video only and didn’t use my telephoto lens so didn’t catch a decent ID). The two clearly were having a blast, and treated us to a double breach! Spyhops, rolls, silly tail slapping and more fun social behavior. Upon reviewing the video footage, you can clearly see the older orca spitting water over the calfs head. This is the first time I have ever seen such behavior, not that it doesn’t happen but it was my first time and what a treat to see such playful silly behavior between orcas.
Wildlife Adventure Sept. 22 12.15pm
With an unusual number of grey days for this Sept, it was a welcome change to see the sun once again. The guests on board the 12.15pm ‘Pacific Explorer ‘, were in for a real treat. It had been reported that a ‘Superpod ‘ was off the Victoria waterfront and had been seen during an earlier trip. We headed east toward San Juan Island where many members of all three pods, J, K and L were traveling together.These fish eating Orca are known to frequent the west side of San Juan Island throughout the summer months. We encountered a number of Pacific White-sided Dolphins on our way to the Southern Resident Orca. A most unusual sighting.They were traveling swiftly and following the Orca. As more whales met up with other members of the community, there was great celebration with enthusiastic behaviours of Spyhops, Breaches, and Tail- lobs. We caught sight of the newest member of L Pod, a tiny active, orange tinged calf, born in August. Its mother, L 47, ‘ Marina ‘ was seen very close by . The Orca seemed very energetic and in high spirits as they mingled together.