August 27th - T99s around Saltspring Island!

 A happy family surfacing together! Photo by Val Watson.

A happy family surfacing together! Photo by Val Watson.

On the morning of the 27th we left the harbour in search of whales! not to far into the trip we got a shore report of a pod of orca travelling along the coast of Saltspring Island so off we went to see if we could find them from the boat! We travelled through the southern gulf islands to Saltspring where we picked up 4 Orca, the T99s.

 Heres a surface with the Saltspring shoreline in the background! Photo by Val Watson.

Heres a surface with the Saltspring shoreline in the background! Photo by Val Watson.

 Check out that blowhole! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes. 

Check out that blowhole! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes. 

The T99s are a relatively young pod which consists the matriarch, Bella (T99), and four of her offspring; Holly (T99B), Baracat (T99C), and T99D. The offspring are too young to determine the age of yet, as the easiest way to tell the gender out on the water is by looking at the dorsal fin.

The dorsal fin of the male orca when they go through sexual maturity will grow and stiffen, reaching a max height of 6 feet tall! The females don't get that large dorsal so when the whales get older and don't develop that you know they are female. 

 Three of the T99s surface together! Bella (left), Baracat (middle), and Holly (right). Photo by Val Watson.

Three of the T99s surface together! Bella (left), Baracat (middle), and Holly (right). Photo by Val Watson.

 Going for a deep dive! Photo by Val Watson.

Going for a deep dive! Photo by Val Watson.

Sometimes you can get lucky and get a picture of the underside of the whale and use that to determine gender but that hasn't happened with this pod.

 Bella showing off her scars. Photo by Val Watson.

Bella showing off her scars. Photo by Val Watson.

One of these whales sports some pretty noticeable nicks out of their dorsal fin, which makes them easy to identify.

 All four surface again together! Check out hollys nicks on the dorsal fin on the left. Photo by Val Watson.

All four surface again together! Check out hollys nicks on the dorsal fin on the left. Photo by Val Watson.

 Holly and her mom surfacing together. Photo by Val Watson.

Holly and her mom surfacing together. Photo by Val Watson.

 Big breath coming to the surface! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Big breath coming to the surface! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

We also got to go out and watch the T99s in the afternoon trip where they were still around Saltspring, just on the other side. We got beautiful views of these whales as the sun was setting over glassy calm waters. Here are some of the pictures from this trip. Hope you enjoy! 

 Happy, lazy harbour seal! Photo by Val Watson.

Happy, lazy harbour seal! Photo by Val Watson.

 Triple decker harbour seals! bonus judgemental oyster catcher in the background. Photo by Val Watson.

Triple decker harbour seals! bonus judgemental oyster catcher in the background. Photo by Val Watson.

 Another deep dive. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes 

Another deep dive. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes 

 Photo by Rodrigo Menezes 

Photo by Rodrigo Menezes 

 A very excited surfacing. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

A very excited surfacing. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Bella and one offspring travelling away from the boat. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Bella and one offspring travelling away from the boat. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Holly surfacing showing off her eye patch. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Holly surfacing showing off her eye patch. Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Couldn't ask for better lighting! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

Couldn't ask for better lighting! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes.

 Swimming away! Goodbye T99s! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes. 

Swimming away! Goodbye T99s! Photo by Rodrigo Menezes. 

Jilann LechnerComment