July 3rd - T Party near Gabriola Island!

On the 3rd of July both vessels set off from the dock at 10:30 in different directions to search for whales. Cascadia went through Dodd's Narrows along the south west side of Gabriola and Quick Change II went along the north east side towards Thrasher rocks. 

Captain Mike, onboard the Quick Change II, spotted a huge group of orcas just south of Thrasher. There were orcas to our bow, orcas to our port, orcas to our stern. Orcas were everywhere! The three family pods were very active, socializing and spending lots of time at the surface. 

 Calf swimming alongside mother! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Calf swimming alongside mother! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Some boats were able to lower their hydrophones (underwater microphones) into the water and pick up a loud choir of vocalizations all around us. Amazing to hear these animals communicating with each other! We all stood in awe, listening to their whistles and squeaks, while watching the youngsters splash around. 

 Orca spy hopping! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Orca spy hopping! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The families we encountered were the T65A's, T124A's, and the T37A's. T65A6 is the newborn we've been seeing a lot of this month, who at less than three months old, was putting on quite the show! Multiple times we were treated to fluke waves from this little girl as she was trying to imitate some of the older whales. 

 Fluke waves from the orcas. Notice the newborn calf joining in on the fun! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher.

Fluke waves from the orcas. Notice the newborn calf joining in on the fun! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher.

We also saw a couple of half breaches, where the whale propels itself out of the water and slams down its side. Unfortunately I don't think any of us were quick enough to snap photos though.

 A little fluke wave in between some travelling killer whales! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

A little fluke wave in between some travelling killer whales! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Later that afternoon we reunited with the whales further north just south of Entrance Island. The groups had split apart but we could still see blows off both sides of our vessel Cascadia. At one point the whales turned suddenly and headed straight towards us! Captain James shut down the engine and our guests and staff, with jaws on the floor, were treated to a close encounter as these animals swam under our boat. 

 Take a look at the white colouration under the water, what a shot! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Take a look at the white colouration under the water, what a shot! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The water was a clear emerald green and before the whales would surface we were able to see their white eyepatches and undersides as they swam shallowly beneath us. What a sight to see the white get closer and closer to the surface as the whale approached for its exhale. They moved passed us quickly but all passengers were able to see some of the gnarly scars across the backs of these transient killer whales. 

 The close encounters allow us to get a good look at all the scarring across their bodies. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

The close encounters allow us to get a good look at all the scarring across their bodies. Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

And since we were so close to Entrance Island we had to stop at the sea lions! These guys are still covering the rocks, fighting for space, and making a big loud burping spectacle of themselves. We could easily pick out some of the giant males lounging in the middle of the group, king of the rock.

 Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks. Look how big that male is compared to all the others surrounding him! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks. Look how big that male is compared to all the others surrounding him! Photo by Natalie Reichenbacher

Call and book a tour with us to enjoy these sights first hand! 

Jilann LechnerComment