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!
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.
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.
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.
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.