August 28th - T99's hunting near Nanaimo and again in the Strait of Georgia

You know it's going to be a great day when..... killer whales are found at your doorstep!

 A killer whale spyhopping near the Sunshine Coast. Photos by Rodrigo Menezes

A killer whale spyhopping near the Sunshine Coast. Photos by Rodrigo Menezes

August 28th started with a report of killer whales just outside of Nanaimo harbour at the Duke Point ferry terminal. Both Cascadia and Keta set off the dock at 10:30am to investigate, and before Cascadia had even made it out of the harbour, Keta found the T99's! 

 T99's circling their prey. Photo by Alanna Vivani

T99's circling their prey. Photo by Alanna Vivani

For about an hour our guests were treated to watching this family catch some breakfast. It was confirmed by another vessel that these 4 killer whales had a harbour seal with them and were taking their time to kill it. We saw lots of movement, splashing and tail slaps as the whales circled their prey close to the shoreline.

 Look to the right of all of the dorsal fins... see the harbour seal?! Photo by Alanna Vivani

Look to the right of all of the dorsal fins... see the harbour seal?! Photo by Alanna Vivani

 A young whale moving quickly through the water. Photo by Alanna Vivani

A young whale moving quickly through the water. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 Whales moving in opposite directions around a seal. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Whales moving in opposite directions around a seal. Photo by Alanna Vivani

In the T99 pod there are 4 whales, one mother and her three offspring. A couple of the offspring are younger whales and still have a lot to learn about hunting from their mom. Killer whales live in matriarchal societies; the oldest female is the whale in charge and over the years she has to pass on all of her learned skills to the next generation. Hunting for prey with sharp teeth and claws takes practice and strategy, and will take the juvenile whales some years to learn. 

 Turkey vulture perched in a dead tree. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Turkey vulture perched in a dead tree. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 A big exhale! Photo by Alanna Vivani

A big exhale! Photo by Alanna Vivani

 The sea lion in the centre doesn't look so comfortable! Photo by Alanna Vivani

The sea lion in the centre doesn't look so comfortable! Photo by Alanna Vivani

On our afternoon tour we headed out into the Strait of Georgia to catch up with this family at Halibut Bank. They had moved quite a bit in between our tours! When we arrived on scene it quickly became obvious that this family was hungry again. Another hunt!

 What a spy hop! Photo by Alanna 

What a spy hop! Photo by Alanna 

Here are some of the best photos our crew took that day, including some spectacular spy hops!

 Another beautiful spy hop taken in front of the Sunshine Coast and Coastal Mountains. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Another beautiful spy hop taken in front of the Sunshine Coast and Coastal Mountains. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 Some noisy steller sea lions on a birfurcation buoy! Photo by Alanna Vivani

Some noisy steller sea lions on a birfurcation buoy! Photo by Alanna Vivani

 Two cormorants protecting their nesting area. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Two cormorants protecting their nesting area. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 Cute and furry harbour seals. Photo by Alanna Vivani

Cute and furry harbour seals. Photo by Alanna Vivani

 What a beautiful sandstone cave hideout! Photo by Alanna Vivani

What a beautiful sandstone cave hideout! Photo by Alanna Vivani

Jilann LechnerComment