May 3rd - Killer Whales near East Point

We took our open boat "Cascadia" out for an afternoon whale watching trip, and headed South from Downtown Nanaimo toward historic East Point just off Saturna Island.

 The T36A pod resting. Did you know that orcas rest half a brain at a time? This allows them to continue their travel while sleeping! Photo by Alanna Vivani

The T36A pod resting. Did you know that orcas rest half a brain at a time? This allows them to continue their travel while sleeping! Photo by Alanna Vivani

We found the T36As resting in serene seas, enjoying their freedom. 

East Point is the capture site of the first orca ever in captivity, back in 1964. The captured whale, later named Moby Doll, was brought to a makeshift pen in Vancouver and survived 87 days, which was enough time for scientists to learn a lot about him! Moby Doll taught us that "killer" whales weren't as vicious as we once thought, and in spite of their size and speed they could be docile and gentle. Moby Doll's complex vocalizations proved he was a highly intelligent animal. His vocalizations were recorded, and by analyzing his dialect against other whales' vocalizations scientists were able to confirm that Moby Doll was part of the endangered Southern Resident Orca population.

Sadly, Moby Doll was the first of many whales in the Southern Resident population captured and sent to aquariums all over the globe. In fact, almost all orcas in captivity in the 60's and 70's came from this BC population. But in 1976, the Canadian government banned the capture of killer whales in BC, and fortunately these whales have been protected ever since. Today there are just 76 Southern Resident Orca. They are one of the smallest populations of animals on earth, and facing a number of challenges. To learn more about their plight, and what you can do to help, visit https://www.raincoast.org/killer-whales/

After visiting with the T36As, we headed back North toward Nanaimo, and found some Steller sea lions all piled up on a buoy!

 Steller sea lions huddled up on a buoy near Entrance island. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Steller sea lions huddled up on a buoy near Entrance island. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Book a trip with us to enjoy whales in their natural habitat, tours offered daily!