May 17th - Partyyy!!!
WOW! What a day! A whole congregation of orca pods were sighted near Entrance Island off the coast of Nanaimo displaying an array of activities. We’re talking the T123s (remember Stanley?), T100s, T36As, T124As, T63 (Chainsaw!), T65, and a new baby! Did you get all that? That’s over 20 individuals.
Killer whales live in matriarchal societies – mammas rule! Offspring will generally stay close to their mothers their whole lives, nursing for the first year or so before gradually learning how to hunt.
Naming conventions can seem overwhelming at first, but there’s a method to the madness. Take for example the T124As. Grandma gets the shortest name – T124. Her offspring in order from oldest to youngest are named T124A, T124B, T124C, and T124D. T124A’s offspring, in order, are called T124A1, T124A2, T124A3, and T124A4. Of course, these names can be a bit tough to keep track of, so a lot of our frequent visitors get nicknames as well.
Killer whales communicate through whistles, jaw claps, pops, and echolocation clicks, the latter of which can be heard by other whales up to 10 km away! Orcas from different pods will frequently come together to share meals, mate, or just to hang out. Clearly there was something exciting happening with this many whales coming together, especially when looking at the impressive breaches, belly flops, tail lobs, cartwheels, and fluke waves! What an exciting day for our whale watchers, as well as the new baby!