May 15th - Our first Humpback whale sightings and a T-Party!
May 15th was a lucky day to be on the water in what could only be described as WHALE SOUP out there!
Both Cascadia and Keta left the dock at noon and headed south towards some reports of humpback whales. Our old friends “Heather” and “Raptor” had been seen further south earlier this week, and on May 15th they were reported within our range near Active Pass. Our first humpback sighting of 2019!
When Keta got on scene the two humpback whales were mostly traveling and going down for long dives, but near the end of the encounter everyone got to see a whale do a cartwheel! Very powerful and impressive. Cascadia was on its way to visit with “Heather” and “Raptor” but ended up finding their own humpback whales along the way. Humpback whale “Slate” and her new calf were doing long dives and were tricky to spot for about 45 minutes before they started breaching and cartwheeling as well! It’s not too often we get to see these high energy behaviours - what a treat!
While on scene with the humpbacks, transient killer whales were found north of us - of course we had to go! We bombed through the Strait and arrived on scene to find multiple pods socializing and working together on a kill. They had a sea lion and were taking turns ramming it and keeping it underwater. There were so many whales it seemed impossible to get IDs! Luckily there were so many naturalists out there taking photographs and matching up dorsal fins and saddle patches to the catalogue, that we were able to get IDs on most of the pods. Some of the whales sighted on this tour were the T123s, T124C, T124As, T101s, T86As, and the T36As. Crazy!
When this many transient orca join together we call it a T-Party, the “T” coming from the word transient. It is not very common to watch 20+ whales being so social and active, but it has been happening more frequently in the Salish Sea. We hope to witness many more T-Party’s this summer!
Whale Watching tours are running daily out of Downtown Nanaimo at 12pm. We still have seats for this long weekend and, as this blog post clearly shows, there have been literally TONNES of orca very close to Nanaimo! Give our office a call or head to our website if you’d like to book!