June 17 - Exotic killer whales near Saltspring Island!

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

Yesterday we had a unique encounter with two exotic transient (Bigg's) killer whales who are rarely seen in our waters. They aren't even in our catalogue! T125A and T128 are two mature males that are brothers from the T125 family line. They are usually seen traveling together outside of the Salish Sea, in fact their last sighting before this week was down in California on February 17th! 

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

This past week these two bulls have made several appearances and we were lucky enough to spend some quality time with them yesterday. Both whales have very unique dorsal fins with nicks in them, so it is fairly easy to tell them apart. T125A has a square-like chunk missing out of his fin and T128 is the other whale who has a rounded divot missing near the bottom of his fin. 

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

Usually these whales are seen further north in Haida Gwaii but they've been seen several time in the Salish Sea over the last three years. This is likely due to the increase in harbour seal and sea lion populations in the Salish Sea. The word has gotten around that prey is a plentiful!

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

At Entrance Island, nearby Nanaimo, there are still haul outs FULL of steller sea lions! Watching these guys fight for space and growl at each other is always the icing on the cake of a great day whale watching!

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment