August 19th - T2C Family visits Saturna Island!

This afternoon our guests were treated to the T2C family of transient killer whales. This matrilineal group has quite the history behind them in terms of captivity, keep scrolling to read all about it!

 Photo By Val Watson

Photo By Val Watson

We set off from the docks in Nanaimo and made our way south through the Gulf Islands in search of whales. The smoke has been lingering here off the coast of Vancouver Island, but the waters within the channels were so calm it was as if we were sliding across a sheet of glass. We heard of reports for killer whales off Saturna Island, our southern most gulf island, so off we went to find them. 

 T2C4 (2017) surfacing next to her brother (T2C1) and other sibling T2C3. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T2C4 (2017) surfacing next to her brother (T2C1) and other sibling T2C3. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Travelling along the coastline looking for a snack. Photo by Val Watson.

Travelling along the coastline looking for a snack. Photo by Val Watson.

This family is fronted by T2C (Tasu), a 29 year old female who travels with all four of her offspring. Tasu's mother, T2 (Florencia), was at one point captured for the use of entertainment in aquaria. However, Florencia as well as one of her siblings (T1 - Charlie Chin) escaped their enclosure when someone sunk their net. Florencia gave birth to three offspring following her escape, Tasu being her third offspring. 

 Another surface by the pod. Photo by Val Watson.

Another surface by the pod. Photo by Val Watson.

When we have the chance to observe this specific family of orca, it is common to find one member (T2C2) trailing behind the rest of them. He is a 13 year old male orca, named Tumbo, who suffers from scoliosis. This physical deformity has caused some mobility issues, he tends to swim a little slower and thus is usually behind the rest of the group for about a mile or two. However, the pod never abandons him. In fact, they will sometimes turn back around and swim slower with him for a while to keep him company. Even if he can't help out with a hunt or is too far away, they'll never neglect him. They share the wealth, making sure that he gets fed each time they successfully complete a kill. 

 Tumbo (T2C2) on the far right with his mom T2C. You can see evidence of the scoliosis through the dorsal fin bends. Photo by Val Watson.

Tumbo (T2C2) on the far right with his mom T2C. You can see evidence of the scoliosis through the dorsal fin bends. Photo by Val Watson.

 Photo by Val Watson. 

Photo by Val Watson. 

On our way back to Nanaimo, we stopped off at Miami Island to see some harbour seals hauled out on the rocks there. This rocky group of islands got its name from the whiter sand that is found on them at low tide. 

 T2C1 surfacing with their younger sibling in behind. Check out that size difference! wow. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

T2C1 surfacing with their younger sibling in behind. Check out that size difference! wow. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Waving goodbye to everyone! Bye! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Waving goodbye to everyone! Bye! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Jilann Lechner1 Comment