June 3rd - T49A's and T65A's near Galiano Island

Sunday brought us some of the first clouds and rain that we've seen in weeks, but we are not complaining because it also brought us a huge group of killer whales! We set south on the Quick Change II towards reports of whales at Porlier Pass.

 An orca does a spyhop on a cloudy Sunday. Photo by Val Watson

An orca does a spyhop on a cloudy Sunday. Photo by Val Watson

Porlier Pass is 650m wide channel between Galiano Island and Valdes Island that experiences 8-9 knot tidal streams. Because of the constantly moving water and nutrients being pushed to the surface, this is a very productive area that attracts many species of fish. Not only does this make it a great place to go fishing, Porlier Pass is also a very popular dive spot. Two steam ships have run aground in the Pass and now lie sunken, covered in plumose anemones and sea stars.

 Orcas sometimes use tail slaps as a way of communicating with each other. Photo by Val Watson

Orcas sometimes use tail slaps as a way of communicating with each other. Photo by Val Watson

Our boats caught up with the whales just outside of Porlier Pass and got to watch these two family pods travel and forage together. Our guests were even treated to a 'spyhop', which is where a whale pops its head out of the water to take a look around. Although listening is arguably the most important sense to orcas, their vision is remarkable as well.

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

 Photo by Val Watson

Photo by Val Watson

New to the T65A's is calf T65A6 who is still orange-ish in colour instead of the white most people associate with killer whales. The baby will nurse for 1-2 years and slowly build up that white colouration as it ages. The calf is hard to photograph as it has smaller lungs and spends less time at the surface, but it was definitely a highlight for everyone onboard!

 Look right behind the adult orca and you'll see a young whale peeking its head above the water as well! Photo by Val Watson

Look right behind the adult orca and you'll see a young whale peeking its head above the water as well! Photo by Val Watson

Jilann LechnerComment