July 27th - T99's travelling north through the Gulf Islands
Today we had the pleasure of taking our guests out on the water through the Gulf Islands to watch a pod of transient orcas. The T99 family was found travelling north (lucky for us!) but first we caught up with them in the morning right around Sidney, just west of James Island. By the afternoon we watched them continue their travels around Maple Bay, on the west side of Saltspring Island.
No trip is complete without seeing the harbour seals, so off we went to find them hauled out on the rocks. While we usually see them on the rocks, seals generally spend half their time in the water and half their time on land. On average, their dives are around 5 minutes, give or take a few, but they have the capability to be underwater for up to 40 minutes and at depths of around 450 m! Talk about an incredible lung capacity.
The pod of orcas were travelling north during our time with them, watching them surface so rhythmically along the coastal shores. This pod consists of a 34 year old mother (T99, Bella) and three of her offspring aged 11 (T99B, Holly), 9 (T99C, Baracat), and 3 years old. T99B has a very distinctive nick on its dorsal fin, helpful in the identification of not only that individual orca, but the whole pod as well.
As we made our way back towards Nanaimo and into the harbour we spotted the tiniest little juvenile seagull swimming around the harbour. Their colouration is very different from the adults in the population.
You can check out some more photos below, taken by our naturalists! Better yet, book a tour with us online or over the phone and have a chance to see these majestic mammals firsthand! :)