April 6th - Juvenile Humpback and Orcas (T101s) in Howe Sound

April 6th, 2018

Wow, our first double whale species day of the season! 

On our way to visit some transient orcas in Howe sound, our vessel "Quick Change II" came across a juvenile humpback whale! This individual is our first humpback sighting of the year, and it's likely this little whale's first year navigating BC's coastal seas without its mother.

 A juvenile humpback whale surfaces in Howe Sound. The circular markings on its back are from cookie cutter sharks, found in tropical seas where this whale spent the winter. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes

A juvenile humpback whale surfaces in Howe Sound. The circular markings on its back are from cookie cutter sharks, found in tropical seas where this whale spent the winter. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes

Humpback mothers give birth in warm waters near the equator during wintertime, and make their northward migration to our waters in time to feed for the summer. Calves make this epic migration with their mother only once, after that they're on their own!

After leaving this little humpback whale, we continued our adventure further into Howe sound, where we got to check out a pod of transient orca known as the T101s. The T101 family includes the matriarch, known as T101, and her three adult sons who will likely travel with her for life.

 After some hunting, T102, a 34 year old male surfaces near Squamish in Howe Sound. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes, cropped and zoomed.

After some hunting, T102, a 34 year old male surfaces near Squamish in Howe Sound. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes, cropped and zoomed.

Transient orca eat marine mammals, and around here seals and sea lions make up most of their diet. After watching the T101 family chase some sea lions, we headed over to Pam Rocks to visit the harbour seals at their haulout.

We then crossed the Strait of Georgia, returning to our dock in downtown Nanaimo. What an incredible day out there! Excited to see what the rest of April will bring!

 Orca brothers surfacing infront of a steep hillside of Douglas firs and Cedar trees. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Orca brothers surfacing infront of a steep hillside of Douglas firs and Cedar trees. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.