July 23rd - Orcas in the South
The 23rd was a very busy day for our boats. We watched two pods consisting of ten individuals in the morning, found one lone orca in the early afternoon, one boat spotted a Humpback and calf, and we visited a group of five orca in the late afternoon.
During the morning tour, we had a really awesome show from the T77’s and 65A’s! They were showcasing some incredible vocalizations which out Naturalists broadcasted through our hydrophones (underwater microphones) for our guests to hear. Our Transients do not commonly vocalize unless they are in a social setting, so it’s always a treat to hear them chatting away! Naturalist Rebeka also spotted a Humpback whale mother and her calf near Thrasher Rock, but unfortunately we were unable to get an ID shot of them so their identities remain a mystery! For Humpbacks we need to get a good shot of the underside of their fluke (their tail) and compare it to our catalogues. Our orca tend to be a bit easier to ID since we usually use their dorsal fin for identification!
In the afternoon, we headed south to North Pender Island. There we met up with member of the T124 matriline . T124C (Cooper) is the large male who is easily distinguishable in the below photos. He is known as a Lone Male because he typically travels by himself. Every once in a while he will join up with other pods to socialize, as we saw here. In this case he was travelling with T124A1 (Bonapartes) and the T124A2’s (T124A2/Elkugu and T124A2A/Agafia), which are his nieces and his great-niece or nephew (T124A2A has yet to be sexed). Typically orca stay with their mother’s pod their entire life, but sometimes there are special cases like this one where individuals will break off and start their own matrilines. In the case of the T124’s, T124D and T124D1 have split off from the main matriarch (T124), as have T124A1 (Bonapartes), and T124A2 (Elkugu) and her offspring T124A2A (Agafia).
Our boats were also lucky enough to see a young seal pup nursing from it’s mother, interupted an Eagle feasting, and saw a group of Steller sea lions snoozing on a buoy.
Join us on a tour today! To book, please call us at 250-667-5177 or continue on our website to book online! Happy travels!