August 26th - Killer whales and harbour porpoises across the Strait of Georgia!

We started the day a little cloudy but the sun broke through as the day went on and the conditions were wonderful for a day on the water. Our open vessel, Cascadia, took off from the harbour in the morning and started on its way across the strait where reports of killer whales were heard. 

 T90 family surfaces together! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

T90 family surfaces together! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

We came across the pod just off of Point Grey, 5 individuals and you couldn't mistake the big male (T87) in the group. He is 56 year old lone male who often travels with another pod of orcas, the T90s. If you take a good look at our photos, you'll see his dorsal fin is quite unique. 

 T87 surfaces in front of a member from T90. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

T87 surfaces in front of a member from T90. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

The T90 family consists of four individuals, the mother (T90) is 38 years old, and her three offspring travel with her. T90B (12 year old male), T90C (8 year old female), and T90D, a new calf who is too cute! We watched on as the group hunted in the waters off of Point Grey, we couldn't see the aftermath of the hunt but you sure could smell it in the air. We were treated to a few tail slaps, a goofy cartwheel, and a spy hop too! Once we left the orcas and headed for Nanaimo, we stopped in the strait to watch 3 harbour porpoises quickly surface around our vessel.

 Pectoral fin on display during a cartwheel. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Pectoral fin on display during a cartwheel. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 Lazy cartwheel! Photos by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Lazy cartwheel! Photos by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

We stopped off at Gabriola Reefs to see some noisy steller sea lions hauled out on the buoy there. Watched as the ones on the edge tried to stay on, slipping every so often as there were quite a lot of them squished into one small area!

 Steller sea lions on the buoy in Gabriola Reefs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Steller sea lions on the buoy in Gabriola Reefs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Our afternoon trip had to go a little further to see the pod of orcas! As we crossed the strait we passed a shy harbour porpoise who surfaced as we boated past. However, we were anxious to get to the orcas so off we went to the southeastern point of Gambier Island in Howe Sound, off of Halkett Point. It was the same pod as this mornings trip, T87 with the T90s. We must have caught them during a resting period as they were logging during the first portion of our visit. As time passed on their surfaces became more frequent and more exciting. We followed them along the coastline of Gambier, hearing their deep breaths during each surface. 

 Dorsal fins slicing through the water. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Dorsal fins slicing through the water. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

On our way home we stopped at a log boom and saw a river otter quickly hurry into the water, lots of harbour seals and some cute little pups with them, as well as a heron. Lots of wildlife today for our guests and a wonderful day out on the water! Enjoy some more photos below :)

 Look at the cute little harbour seal pup on the logs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Look at the cute little harbour seal pup on the logs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 Tail slap! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Tail slap! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 I spy an orca spy hopping among the rest of the pod. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

I spy an orca spy hopping among the rest of the pod. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 Harbour porpoise! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Harbour porpoise! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 Harbour porpoise part 2! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

Harbour porpoise part 2! Photo by Alanna Vivani - 10:30 tour.

 T87 (far back) with calf T90D (right) and another member of T90 (left) surfacing. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

T87 (far back) with calf T90D (right) and another member of T90 (left) surfacing. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 All of T90 and T87 side by side. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

All of T90 and T87 side by side. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 Heron taking a walk on the logs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Heron taking a walk on the logs. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

 T87 (56 years old) surfaces, take a look at his dorsal fin at the top. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

T87 (56 years old) surfaces, take a look at his dorsal fin at the top. Photo by Alanna Vivani - 3:30 tour.

Jilann LechnerComment