October 6th - Two pods of orcas at San Juan Island!

What a beautiful day for some whale watching! Our usual October weather took a hiatus today and we were surrounded by clear blue skies and sun shining all day. Both our open vessels, Keta and Cascadia, set off from the Nanaimo Harbour in search of whales.

 A non-breeding common murre floating on the surface. You can tell by the black colouration dipping into the neck region from the front of the head. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

A non-breeding common murre floating on the surface. You can tell by the black colouration dipping into the neck region from the front of the head. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

We took a quick stop to see some exciting wildlife before heading through Dodd’s Narrows. We saw a bald eagle perched up top a concrete pillar and quite a number of big, noisy California Sea Lions hauled out on the log booms near Harmac.

 Bald eagle! They’re extremely common in our summer months, but as winter get closer they migrate south and we see fewer and fewer of them on our trips. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Bald eagle! They’re extremely common in our summer months, but as winter get closer they migrate south and we see fewer and fewer of them on our trips. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

 California sea lions hauled out on the log booms in front of Harmac. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

California sea lions hauled out on the log booms in front of Harmac. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

 Mmmm that sun feels nice. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Mmmm that sun feels nice. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Keta took a trip down Trincomali Channel while Cascadia went south through Stuart Channel. Not long afterwards we heard reports of orca at San Juan Island. We continued through the channels and made our way towards Haro Strait.

Once on scene, we were greeted by two big males, with their unique dorsal fins it took no time to figure out who we had! T65A2 and T49A1. Take a look at our photos and see their nicks on the dorsal fins. Each male is a member of separate pods, the T65A’s and the T49A’s, respectively. In both pods, the matriarchs have each had a new birth this year, with T49A (32 years old) welcoming her 5th offspring (a female) and T65A (32 years old) welcoming her 6th offspring, a female too!

 Two members surfacing near the rocky coastline. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Two members surfacing near the rocky coastline. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1 (17 years old) surfaces, check out the nick on the top of the dorsal fin for help in identification. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T49A1 (17 years old) surfaces, check out the nick on the top of the dorsal fin for help in identification. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T49A1. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1 splashes down as he engages in a big surface! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T49A1 splashes down as he engages in a big surface! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

The two pods came together to travel and hunt, but were quite spread apart during our time with them. The two big males stuck close together throughout the trip. We were treated to two breaches and a spy hop, lucky us! As the orcas travelled north along the San Juan Island coast, we followed them up before heading back northwest towards Nanaimo.

 Orca spy hop by T65A2 as T49A1 (right) dives down. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Orca spy hop by T65A2 as T49A1 (right) dives down. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

 T65A2. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T65A2. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T65A2 (14 years old) surfaces. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T65A2 (14 years old) surfaces. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T65A2 surfaces, here you can see his nick about 3/4 of the way down the dorsal fin. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T65A2 surfaces, here you can see his nick about 3/4 of the way down the dorsal fin. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T65A2, his nick just visible amidst his blow. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T65A2, his nick just visible amidst his blow. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

En route to the harbour, we took a quick break at Miami Islands to see the harbour seals and a few cormorants perched on the rocks.

 Harbour seals at Miami Island! Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Harbour seals at Miami Island! Photo by Alanna Vivani.

 Harbour seal giving a little flipper wave at the back. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Harbour seal giving a little flipper wave at the back. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Our tours are running daily at 11:00 am on our open vessels, we’ve got a few more weeks of exciting whale watching ahead of us so don’t forget to book your tour soon! Give us a call or book online to have your own experience with this majestic mammals :)

Keep scrolling for some more photos below!

 T65A2 (left) and T49A1 (right) surface together, check out our gif of them in sync with one another. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T65A2 (left) and T49A1 (right) surface together, check out our gif of them in sync with one another. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1 (left) and T65A2 (right) surfacing in unison. So calming! Photos by Rodrigo Menezes.

T49A1 (left) and T65A2 (right) surfacing in unison. So calming! Photos by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1 crystal clear against the San Juan Island backdrop. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T49A1 crystal clear against the San Juan Island backdrop. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 T49A1 (left) and T65A2 (right) surface in front of San Juan Island. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

T49A1 (left) and T65A2 (right) surface in front of San Juan Island. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

 Transient orcas surfaces. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Transient orcas surfaces. Photo by Alanna Vivani.

Jilann LechnerComment