May 19th - T101's in Howe Sound

 Mom and son T102 "Beardslee" cruising side by side deeper into the Sound. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Mom and son T102 "Beardslee" cruising side by side deeper into the Sound. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

On Saturday we were taken to one of our favourite places to watch whales, Howe Sound! Icy blue-green glacial water and mountainous islands surrounded by the snow-capped mountains on the mainland... the only thing that could make this place more scenic is a 6 foot tall black dorsal fin appearing next to the boat. Lucky us!

Another whale watching company had found the T101's family pod earlier that morning alongside Bowen Island, which is actually an island municipality and part of Metro Vancouver. The Island has more than 3500 permanent residents and a ferry service to Horseshoe Bay running year round. Over 700 people are estimated to commute to the mainland every day for work or school! 

 A bull's tall black fin is recognizable from afar. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

A bull's tall black fin is recognizable from afar. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

The T101's moved deeper into the sound and split into two pairs. We've seen the T101's use this strategy in Howe Sound before. The Sound is shaped like a triangle, 42 km long and getting narrower as you move north. Orcas can communicate over long distances of up to 10km apart from each other, so our theory is that they spread themselves out at the base of the triangle and moved north combing for prey. This way they have all their ground covered and their prey is cornered! 

 Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Transient (Bigg's) killer whales will limit the amount of vocalizations they make during a hunt as to not scare their prey away. Marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and porpoises have amazing hearing underwater and one little orca peep could be enough to scare them onto shore and out of the orca's reach. What our tour witnessed in Howe Sound on Saturday was a perfect example of why these apex predators are nicknamed "Wolves of the Sea". 

 Son Beardslee was born in 1984 and his mother Reef was born in 1973. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Son Beardslee was born in 1984 and his mother Reef was born in 1973. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Jilann LechnerComment