Sightings Report for August 18th 2018

A great Saturday to be on the water! The skies were clear and seas were calm as the fleet set out to see who was around for the day! 

J pod of the Southern Resident killer whales are back in the Salish Sea! We care about and respect them very much and given their recent plights, our captains gave them their space. Seen in the family was the well known J50, who is thought to be doing better! We want to see thriving whales, always take the opportunity to speak of their struggles, and what can be done to secure their future. 

Humpback whales are around feeding off the deep underwater drop offs! Often solitary, these baleen whales gather to feed in prey rich areas. Its always a great encounter several of them at the same time!!

Stellar Sea Lions are still hanging out at Race Rocks Ecological Park. When the tours head west the captains always take to opportunity to stop in. A variety of pinnipeds are seen sprawled along the rocky shores, and can be heard barking at one another.

~ Stay tuned!

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 16th 2018

The smoke has cleared up in the greater Victoria area despite the amount of fires on Vancouver Island. There has been light winds throughout the area all day blowing out the smoke and making for bumpy water conditions. Luckily our vessels are built to handle rough waters!

In the morning our fleet caught up with the many feeding Humpback whales in the area! These  gentle giants are always friendly and a joy to encounter. they were all very relaxed and seemed to be sleeping as they calmly hung out at the surface for several breathing cycles and made shallow dives. 

In the afternoon Biggs Orca (mammal eaters) were picked up east of Victoria. They were encountered scanning the area for potential prey and successfully snacking!!

~ Stay tuned!

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 15th 2018

We are half way through August already and our encounters have been epic!! The smoke has hung around and there have been more fires reported, making the province of BC declare a state of emergency. 

The fleet encountered several pods of Biggs orca'a (mammal eaters) as they scanned the coast of the San Juan Islands for potential prey. This ecotype of killer whale spends the majority of their time hunting and work together to catch/kill prey items. One group identified as the T2C's have a 13 year old male with scoliosis. He is slow and struggles to keep up, so his family will always come back to check on him and make sure he eats too!!! Its incredible to see these intellegent animals work as a team and care for one another.

~ Stay tuned!

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 14th

Happy Monday! Smoke from wildfires throughout the province have made their way to the area, making for a hazy day.

In the morning there were reports of J pod, of the Southern Residents (salmon eaters), heading west through the Juan de Fuca Strait. By the time our fleet left the harbour the whales were by Jordan River, it would be a long trip but our captains went for it!! Hopefully they can find the food they need out there. There are so many humpbacks around feeding, and we encounter them daily. These large baleen whales migrate here every summer from their breeding grounds in tropical waters. On the afternoon tours our captains went west again and encountered Biggs Orca (mammal eaters) scanning the coastline for potential prey. They spend most of their time foraging and we often encounter them chowing down on their latest kill.

Race Rocks ecological park is loaded with the local pinnipeds. Both seals and sea lions enjoy sunning themselves along the shore lines of these small islands. They are often heard barking at one another as they compete for space and dominance. 

~ Stay tuned for what we encounter next!

Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 10th 2018

Happy Friday, the weekend is here again and the weather seems to be making a shift today. Friday was another hot day in the greater Victoria area, with winds picking up to 20 knots as our afternoon tours got back to the dock! Luckily our zodiacs are built to navigate rough seas!

Peak season has been great, and we have only been skunked once since May (those are some pretty good odds!). Biggs Orca (mammal eaters) were in the area throughout the day yesterday! They were encountered travelling through the Salish Sea scanning the area, and in the afternoon napping! Because whales are mammals they need to stay conscious to breathe, so they evolved to shut half of their brain down at a time, cool!! When they rest they are seen in a tight night group as they swim in a zig-zag pattern. 

Seals and Sea lions are still littered along the shores of Race Rocks Ecological Park. A small chain of islands south of Victoria act as a great haul out spot for the local pinnipeds.

~ Stay tuned!!!

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 9th 2018

Happy Thursday! An unusual day in the sense that the wind calmed down throughout the day, by the afternoon the water was fairly calm!

Reports of Resident Orca whales came in just after the fleet left the dock! They are headed back in from the open Pacific to scan the Salish Sea for their main prey item; Chinook Salmon! They chose this prey mostly due to the large size and nutritional value, smaller fish are not worth the effort of these top predators. A grey whale also popped up unexpectedly! They are here to feed on the small opposum shrimp along the rocky sea bed.

~ Stay tuned!! 

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 8th 2018

The heat wave continues, with a high of 30 degrees in the downtown harbour. Everyone was excited to hop on an open zodiac and turn up the air conditioning!

Throughout the day we encountered Biggs Orca heading west through the Juan de Fuca Strait. They spend most of their time foraging, and are often seen successfully making a kill! These top predators prefer a diet of harbour seals and porpoise. They are high in fat, and with healthy populations in the area these whales are eating well! Such a contrast to the endangered Southern Residents. 

Humpback whales continue to hang out and feed in the Salish Sea. Captain Gordon came back from the morning tour with a great story of being 'mugged' by one of these friendly giants! This term is used to describe when an whale comes in close to check out the boat. Luckily it was a positive experience and everyone went home with their wallets!

~Stay tuned!!

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Capt Tom
Sightings Report for August 7th 2018

Another hot day in the greater Victoria area, with temperatures in the high 20s! 

Throughout the morning our fleet encountered severeal humpback whales, they were in a very friendly mood and several came in close to check out the passengers! These large baleen whales undertake a long migration from southern tropical waters to the highly productive tropical waters of BC every year to feed! They target zooplankton and small schooling fish, by approaching them with their large mouths gaped open to engulf their prey!

In the afternoon our captains headed South of Victoria and not long into the tours a group of Biggs orca were picked up! They were identified as the T18's, a group consisting of 4 individuals with 2 'sprouting' males!

Race Rocks Ecological Reserve is always a hit with guests!! There are many seals and sea lions scattered along the rocks, often heard barking and roaring at one another. Ollie the local sea otter was also spotted having a nap in the kelp beds nearby!

~ Stay Tuned for whats next!

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Capt Tom