July 21 - Active Pass full of active orca!
Our afternoon tours on Cascadia and Keta took us south through the Gulf Islands towards the bottom of Galiano Island. Galiano is a beautiful island that is 28km long with steep westward facing bluffs and hidden coves that kayakers dream about. At the very southern point, in Active Pass, is where our lucky guests encountered a large group of actively hunting orca!
The T34's, T37, T37B's, T73B, and maybe more were all there to hunt and celebrate together. Our boats spent an hour observing these playful animals in their natural habitat and were witness to many tail slaps and breaches. It is still a mystery as to why whales breach but in this instance it seemed to be because they were celebrating a kill!
Amongst these whales were two mature whales who stood out against the rest because of their significantly larger dorsal fins. A male's dorsal fin can get up to 6 feet tall! Some fins have distinguishing nicks in the fin that helps us to tell them apart, others have a slight wave or curve to them, and others look very similar to each other and we need to take a closer look at the scars in the saddle patch to be able to tell them apart.
Active Pass is a beautiful place to watch whales. The waters are usually a clear emerald green and bull kelp forest can be seen bobbing along the rocky shores. Rugged bluffs surround each side of the pass with crooked orange arbutus trees leaning over the water and dark conifers pointing at the sky.
If you're lucky, this is also a great place to see cute, inquisitive harbour seals hauled out at the marker buoy at low tide or swimming in the kelp at high tide. There are at least a couple bald eagles couples that call this pass home and return each year to their nests to raise their young. A wildlife hub!