May 24th - T101's in Trincomali Channel

 Killer whales are constantly on the move! This bull is breaking through the surface to take a quick breath of as he travels through Trincomali Channel. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Killer whales are constantly on the move! This bull is breaking through the surface to take a quick breath of as he travels through Trincomali Channel. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Another sunny, stunning day out on the water with whales! We have definitely been spoiled with both sunshine and whale encounters these past couple of weeks. Yesterday we traveled south through the Gulf Islands towards Active Pass where 4 killer whales had been sighted that morning. They were heading north so we got to spend our hour with them in Trincolmali Channel.

 A big exhale after a long, deep dive. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

A big exhale after a long, deep dive. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Trincomali Channel is a long, somewhat narrow channel between two of the largest Gulf Islands, Saltspring Island and Galiano Island. It was named after the HMS Trincomalee, a Royal Navy Leda-class sailing frigate that is now on display as a museum in Hartlepool, England.

 Momma leading the pod. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Momma leading the pod. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

 Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

 The markings in the saddle patch help scientists identify individual whales and monitor their populations. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The markings in the saddle patch help scientists identify individual whales and monitor their populations. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The killer whales we were treated to seeing were the T101's, a family pod of a mother and her 3 mature sons. Seeing three tall, regal fins traveling in sync is a treat, making this family pod one of our favourites to watch.

 The most beautiful sound in the world! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The most beautiful sound in the world! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

 A bull's fin can reach to heights of 6ft! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

A bull's fin can reach to heights of 6ft! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

 Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

 Dodd's Narrows - a scenic, narrow pass that we travel through most days. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Dodd's Narrows - a scenic, narrow pass that we travel through most days. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Yesterday they traveled the entire time we were with them, doing relatively long, deep dives while spread apart. This is the same strategy they used earlier in the week up in Howe Sound! As mentioned in the previous blog, killer whales can vocalize over long distances and they will often spread themselves out to comb for prey and then communicate loudly once they've found it. We weren't lucky enough to witness a kill yesterday but it's still fascinating to see them traveling apart and wonder about the reasons why.

As always, an answer to one question about these mysterious animals leads to many more!

Jilann LechnerComment