August 3rd - Transient Orca in the Saanich Inlet
It was a pretty windy day in the Strait of Georgia when we left the Nanaimo harbour, but lucky for us we can find sheltered waters traveling through the Southern Gulf Islands! We headed south through Dodds Narrows into Stuart Channel when we got news of a pod of transient orca traveling in the Saanich Inlet. We headed south until we found the whales and learned that it was one of our favorite pods, the T65As!
When we saw the T65A’s it was a group of 5 whales consisting of T65A “Fingers” who is currently traveling with four of her five children; T065A3 “Amira”, T065A4 “Ellifrit”, T065A5 “Elsie”, and T065A6. Her eldest son T065A2 “Ooxjaa” has been with his aunt T065B for about the last month. We saw these animals in both the morning and afternoon trips still in the inlet. They traveled along the east side of the inlet all the way down and then back up the west bank.
The Saanich inlet is a very interesting inlet in our waters because right at the mouth there is shelf of sediment that was deposited by a glacier a very long time ago but it is still having a big impact on the wildlife we find there. This barrier created by this material blocks the flow of oxygenated waters into the deep waters of the inlet leaving a very anoxic environment for most of the year. When passing through the inlet there is a huge ODAS (ocean data acquisition system) Bouy which helps to keep track of this interesting phenomenon.
The whales were unaffected by this as they spend most of their time at the surface. This was definitely the case today as we say a lot of hunting, socializing, and travelling at the surface waters.
Our naturalists on board managed to get some great pictures from our trip, check them out below!