May 30th - A perfect tour with one Humpback and a Orca Party!
Today we decided to travel south on the Strait of Georgia on our daily routine of searching for (and finding!) whales. We make our first stop at Entrance Island, where our guests could watch dozens of lazy Steller sea lions and California sea lions hanging out on the rocks.
Did you know that stones are commonly found in the stomachs of Sea Lions, Seals and Walrus? In the Steller sea lions (the largest specie of sea lion) these stomach stones or “gastroliths” can reach sizes around 12 cm! However the reasons for this behaviour are not entirely clear yet, it can be such an incidental ingestion or a deliberated action to improve their digestion process, the most likely reason for that would be because their teeth are not adapted to chew their prey, thus they need to swallow the whole prey at once, and these rocks can work grinding up the variety of species (fishes, octopus, squid, crabs, and others) that these generalists predators can feed on. Furthermore, these gastroliths also could act as a ballast while diving, or might help ward off hunger pangs when the animals are fasting on shore.
After watching the sea lions, we kept heading south on the Strait of Georgia until we found a Humpback whale milling arounld Tumbo Island and probably feeding while she went for some long dives. The Humpback was identified as Divot (BCX1057), and we were so happy by seeing this common visitor on ours waters. Divot spent the last summer on the Salish Sea with her calf Olympus, but now she have been seeing travelling alone. Usually Hfuumpback’s calves have only one year to learn everything from its mom before starting travelling by their own.
We knew that Divot is a very careful mother but we got really excited when we discovered that she is already a Grandma!!! One of her daughters named Zephyr was seen in the Salish Sea with her first calf this season.
And did you think that was the end of our adventure? Think again because after leaving Divot we got really lucky and found 22 Transients Orcas socializing in the middle of Strait of Georgia. It was such an unique experience to see five pods of Killer Whales interacting and traveling together.