August 17th - Whales up North, and the White Orca returns!
August 17th was filled with lots of whale action! In the morning we started to head up North towards the Ballenas Islands in search of whales. We managed to spot three different humpbacks: BCY0160 - “Dalmatian”, BCY0057 - “Niagara”, and BCY0172 calf - “Apollo”.
In the afternoon we travelled down to Gabriola Passage where we located four more humpbacks: BCX0915 - “Fallen Knight”, her new calf (and first calf to our knowledge), as well as two other friends! After visiting the humpbacks we travelled further South to visit the T46’s, a very large orca pod consisting of 13 individuals and two separate matrilines (T46’s and T46B’s). The original matriarch, T46 - “Wake”, is actually a great-grandmother at this point and was one of the last live captured whales in Puget Sound’s Budd Inlet. Thankfully she was released after protesting occurred, and she has thrived since then! The other matriarch, T46B - “Raksha”, is actually Wake’s second born child who has gone off by herself to raise her own family, including our favourite white orca T46B1B - “Tl’uk”! Our company was actually the first company to spot him, and our own Naturalist Val was interviewed about her experience spotting our rare white whale! Check out this blog entry for our first encounter with Tl’uk on May 28th!
Niagara has a very distinct marking between it’s flukes that looks similar to a waterfall. Take a look at the picture below and see if you can find it!
Niagara was spotted travelling with Apollo, who does not have her own number yet! This is very interesting because Apollo is actually a mother already - She was born in 2010 to BCY0172 - “Horizon”, and has since had her own calf named BCY0172 2010 calf’s 2018 calf - “Nova”. Hopefully Apollo will be assigned her own number soon!
Below we have BCY0160 2015 calf - “Dalmatian”. Dalmatian’s mother is BCY0160 - “Heather” who is a very common visitor here in the Salish Sea. Check out our June 9th blog entry for lots of great information and photos on the infamous Heather!
Dalmatian is still quite young at roughly four years old, but she was seen adventuring by herself today. A humpback calf will typically leave it’s mother around one to two years old. It is a pretty tough life as a baby humpback - our local Transient orca will actually prey on them!
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