June 23rd - T124A's near Active Pass

 A young whale surfaces in the Strait. Photo by Alanna Vivani

A young whale surfaces in the Strait. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Both boats set out on Saturday towards Active Pass in the southern Gulf Islands. Conditions were favourable and a large group of orcas had been found, what more could you ask for! 

 The scenery around here is such a bonus! Photo by Val Watson

The scenery around here is such a bonus! Photo by Val Watson

 A majestic bald eagle surveys the surrounding waters. Photo by Alanna Vivani

A majestic bald eagle surveys the surrounding waters. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 A killer whale pops its face out of the water while taking a breath at the surface. Photo by Val Watson

A killer whale pops its face out of the water while taking a breath at the surface. Photo by Val Watson

The T124A's plus others were found traveling north in a solid pod. These whales spend 80% or more of their time foraging, moving at a steady speed and listening for the sounds of any prey. Bigg's killer whales eat mostly harbour porpoises, but have been seen feasting on sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, other species of whales, sea birds, and even land mammals such as deer or moose!

 Young whales stick close by their mothers. This helps keep them safe and helps to teach them new behaviours. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Young whales stick close by their mothers. This helps keep them safe and helps to teach them new behaviours. Photo by Alanna Vivani

The T124A's are a pod of six killer whales, mostly females. The matriarch and the grandma, T124A, was born in 1984. Her oldest daughter, T124A1, mostly travels separately from the group and was seen last week on one of our tours with the T86A's. Her second oldest daughter, T124A2, was born in 2001 and in 2013 had her first calf. 

 The eye of the orca is right in front of the white eye patch. Photo by Alanna Vivani

The eye of the orca is right in front of the white eye patch. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Seeing these whales in their matriarchal lines, their family trees, makes the encounter so much more special. Killer whales are incredibly social, playful, and intelligent animals who rely on their families for survival. When T124A2A was born it had both its mom and grandma there to teach it how to breathe, swim, eat, and vocalize. Family really is the most important thing in killer whale societies!

 Traveling along the rugged west coast. Photo by Val Watson

Traveling along the rugged west coast. Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment