June 4th - Spectacular views in Howe Sound with the T101's and T86A's

The trip on June fourth took us once again into the scenic glacial fjord of Howe Sound. There we watched as two pods of Orca, the T101's and the T86A's travel together in the sound. Howe Sound seems to be a favourite spot of the T101's as we often find them here but today was special to find the T86A's travelling with them. Pods of transient Orca are often found travelling together but the reasons behind it are mostly unknown. Although the populations of Orca found in the waters of BC are some of the most studied in the world there are still so many things we don't know about them. 

 Beardslee aka T102 (right) travelling with Eider T86A (center) and Tyndall T86A3 (right). Photo by James Clyburn.

Beardslee aka T102 (right) travelling with Eider T86A (center) and Tyndall T86A3 (right). Photo by James Clyburn.

Travelling to Howe Sound to whale watch is always an amazing experience as the Coastal Mountains provide beautiful backdrop for photos and they act as a reminder of all the powerful forces that have shaped British Columbia's landscape over time. Howe Sound, and the area surrounding it, were shaped by glaciers during the last ice age over 12,000 years ago. The movement of the glacier through the area carved out the mountains and the landscape, leaving behind the sound as we see it today.

 Howe Sound with the Coastal Mountains peaking through the clouds in the background. It's hard to imagine what the area would have looked like before being shaped by the glaciers! Photo by James Clyburn.

Howe Sound with the Coastal Mountains peaking through the clouds in the background. It's hard to imagine what the area would have looked like before being shaped by the glaciers! Photo by James Clyburn.

We continued to travel with the two pods down the sound watching them move through the water and listening to the power sound of their breath.

 Nahanni (T86A1) travelling along the coastline in Howe Sound. Photo by James Clyburn.

Nahanni (T86A1) travelling along the coastline in Howe Sound. Photo by James Clyburn.

After we finished watching the whales we travelled back across the Strait of Georgia to one of our favourite places to view Sea Lions, Entrance Island! Entrance Island is a year round haul-out site where we commonly see Steller Sea Lions and Harbour Seals, and California Sea Lions when they have returned to BC waters. Watching the Steller Sea Lions is usually very amusing due to how expressive they are when interacting with each other and with us when they're hauled out. The large males are easily distinguishable from the females, first by their size, and secondly by their mane of fur around their neck. This thicker fur is in place for protection when males are fighting each other for the best spots on the beach. 

 Large Male Steller Sea Lion (center) surrounded by females at the haul-out site on Entrance Island. Photo by James Clyburn. 

Large Male Steller Sea Lion (center) surrounded by females at the haul-out site on Entrance Island. Photo by James Clyburn. 

 Great shot of the mane on the male used to protect against bites from other males when fighting for territory. Photo by James Clyburn. 

Great shot of the mane on the male used to protect against bites from other males when fighting for territory. Photo by James Clyburn. 

While at Entrance Island we also got to check out some Harbour Seals that were hauled out on the rocks. Harbour Seals are experts at camouflage! They use their blotted colouration to blend into the intertidal zone.  

 Nine harbour seals hauled out on Entrance Island. They use their colouration to blend into their environment. Photo by James Clyburn. 

Nine harbour seals hauled out on Entrance Island. They use their colouration to blend into their environment. Photo by James Clyburn. 

Overall it was a fantastic day out on the water! If you want to come out and share this amazing experience we have tours that leave from Nanaimo daily at 12 and 1 pm. We look forward to seeing you on a trip!

Jilann LechnerComment