May 1st - Just Wow. T123s and T36As Hunting Near UBC

May 1st was truly a wildlife ADVENTURE! After spending the afternoon in search of whales, two pods of orca were finally found near UBC off the shores of wreck beach. And off we went!

 Coming up for some air during a hunt! T36A1 surfaces behind what appears to be T123. Photo by Lili Simon

Coming up for some air during a hunt! T36A1 surfaces behind what appears to be T123. Photo by Lili Simon

Our afternoon of searching paid off, Big(gs) time! We were lucky enough  to witness the T36As and T123s hunting the largest species of sea lion in the world, a Steller sea lion. 

 POW! Lunging after a Steller sea lion. Photo by Lili Simon

POW! Lunging after a Steller sea lion. Photo by Lili Simon

Orca hunting skills are passed along the the maternal family from mothers to offspring, and adults will often disable their prey before allowing their calves a try at it. As a result, orca hunts can go on for such a long time! This pursuit went on for over an hour as the whales slammed the sea lion and tossed it through the air.

 From life to LUNCH, the marine food chain in action! Photo by Lili Simon

From life to LUNCH, the marine food chain in action! Photo by Lili Simon

Steller sea lions are exceptional swimmers, and can sometimes escape an entire family of hungry orcas. This steller put up a good fight, but was not so lucky in the end.

On the whole though, Steller sea lions in our region are doing well! While Steller populations in Alaska are declining, BC populations are continuing to grow, which is perhaps one of the reasons the Bigg's orca population is also growing! An abundant sea lion supply means healthy Bigg's whales!

 A Transient (Bigg's) orca rolls at the surface with Orcas island in the background. Photo by Lili Simon

A Transient (Bigg's) orca rolls at the surface with Orcas island in the background. Photo by Lili Simon

Want to join our next whale adventure? Give us a call or book online anytime! Tours offered daily.