April 2nd - T37As, T49A1, and T124C near Chemainus!

April 2nd, 2018:

Wow, our first trip was a MASSIVE SUCCESS!

We left our dock under sunny skies in downtown Nanaimo and headed south to find not one, but TWO groups of killer whales! 

First, we encountered two male transient orca from different pods travelling together (T49A1 and T124C), which is a little unusual given that orcas generally travel with their own maternal family. In any case it was such a treat to witness these two giants in their wild coastal waters. 

 Two lone male orca, T49A1 and T124C travelling near Chemainus. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher, cropped and zoomed.

Two lone male orca, T49A1 and T124C travelling near Chemainus. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher, cropped and zoomed.

After leaving these two males, we began to make our way back toward Nanaimo, but before we got very far we found even more whales! The family known as the T37As were busy hunting seals, and they managed to have a satisfying lunch!

The 37As include the matriarch 24-year-old mother (T37A) and her four offspring, three of which travel with her consistently. 

 T37A surfaces after a successful seal hunt. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher, cropped and zoomed.

T37A surfaces after a successful seal hunt. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher, cropped and zoomed.

Orca don't follow any day-to-day schedule, so when we're out there in their realm we never know what they're going to be up to. We were certainly fortunate to witness hunting behavior, and we're glad these whales are finding so much to eat! Unlike the endangered southern resident orca, the transient orca population is growing steadily which is wonderful to see. We hope these whales continue to thrive for many years to come.

 Spyhopping after a big lunch! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Spyhopping after a big lunch! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher