August 1st - Meeting up with the T18's at East Point!

The first day of a August brought us to a pod of Orca that we haven't seen in a while, the T18's! When we left the dock at 10:30 we had no reports in the area so we started the normal search patterns in an attempt to find some of these elusive whales. About an hour into the search we got word from another company that there was some Transient Orca spotted off of Patos Island, one of the San Juan Islands down in Washington State. Upon hearing this good news we started heading towards them! 

 Pictured here is three of the four members of the pod. Named from left to right: T19 (Mooya), T19B, and T19C (Spouter). Photo by Val Watson.

Pictured here is three of the four members of the pod. Named from left to right: T19 (Mooya), T19B, and T19C (Spouter). Photo by Val Watson.

The T18's are a very special pod to see because of the age of all the whales. All of the whales in this pod are adults, and very large ones at that. An adult male orca can get to be 8m long, with a dorsal fin height of 6 feet. Pretty impressive! the females are a bit smaller, maxing out at around 6 m in length. 

 Check out the size difference here! WOW! Photo by Val Watson

Check out the size difference here! WOW! Photo by Val Watson

The large males will also have proportionally larger fins than the females, which can be seen below. Because of their larger size the flukes (tail fins) actually curve on the adult males. This is normal because there isn't any hard material holding the shape of the fins, just cartilage like material, like in out ears. This makes them flexible but able to hold their general shape. 

 Big curved fluke of one of the males! Photo by Val Watson.

Big curved fluke of one of the males! Photo by Val Watson.

The morning trip was lucky enough to see these large whales hunting as well! There is a small reef off of east point where we got to witness the whales make several passes around. On this reef there was about 50 or more harbour seals which the whales tried to make a quick snack of. We thought from the movements of the whales that they were likely successful. 

 T19C circling around the reef with a bunch of scared seals taking shelter on the rocks. Photo by Val Watson

T19C circling around the reef with a bunch of scared seals taking shelter on the rocks. Photo by Val Watson

In the afternoon tour we again got to watch this amazing pod travelling through the strait of Georgia. It was an amazing day filled with some very spectacular whales! You can check out some more pictures taken by the naturalists below. 

 T19B's big tail slap! Photo by Val Watson.

T19B's big tail slap! Photo by Val Watson.

 T19C with a rainbow blow! Photo by Val Watson

T19C with a rainbow blow! Photo by Val Watson

 Just the ladies, T18 (Esperanza) left, and T19 (Mooya) right. These whales are aged 44 and 49, respectively. Photo by Val Watson.

Just the ladies, T18 (Esperanza) left, and T19 (Mooya) right. These whales are aged 44 and 49, respectively. Photo by Val Watson.

 T19B's fin leans significantly to the left giving it this blunted appearance. Photo by Val Watson.

T19B's fin leans significantly to the left giving it this blunted appearance. Photo by Val Watson.

 Just the boys! Look at those huge dorsals! Photo by Val Watson.

Just the boys! Look at those huge dorsals! Photo by Val Watson.

 This is T19, the mother of these two big boys. Photo by Val Watson.

This is T19, the mother of these two big boys. Photo by Val Watson.

 Can't get enough of these guys! These are some of the largest whales in the population. Photo by Val Watson.

Can't get enough of these guys! These are some of the largest whales in the population. Photo by Val Watson.

Jilann LechnerComment