August 6th - Humpbacks everywhere and T's cruising through the Strait
We started off the morning with multiple reports of Humpbacks AND Transient orca’s hanging out just off Gabriola Island in the Strait of Georgia. Our boats set out at 10:30 and headed down through the Gulf islands, emerging through Porlier Pass and stopping the Straight for the reported whales. We quickly found our pod of Orcas, the T18/19’s, cruising South along Galiano Island.
This pod of Orca’s consists of The Matriarch, T18, named Esperanza. Esperanza was born sometime before 1955, making her at least 64 years old! She has a single daughter, T19, Nootka who was born prior to 1965, so she is at least 54 years old. She also travels with, Nootka’s 2 sons, Galiano T19B born in 1995, and Spouter, T19C born in 2001.
Spouter and Galiano are easy to spot as both boys have very large dorsal fins. Galiano has a little fold to the top of his fin, making it appear flat, with a nice notch about 1/3rd from the top, while spouter has an impressive tall dorsal, so tall we could see it swaying as he swam.
Both Esperanza and Nootka have gone through menopause, meaning Spouter and Galiano will be the last 2 whales produced in this matriline!
After out hour with the Orcas we turned and headed North for Nanaimo. Near Valdes we were greeted with a pleasant surprise, 3 humpbacks! It was our favourite duo, Slate and her calf, traveling with Anvil today. These 3 were doing pretty lazy dives, with Slate and her calf being their usually camera shy selfs. We managed to get a good fluke shot of Slate and Anvil just before we had to say goodbye for the morning.
In the afternoon there were no longer boats with the humpbacks, so we headed south in search of our Orca’s from the morning. These guys had traveled really far, all the way down to Saturna Island. We found them as the came around the south side of Saturna from the Strait, and hung out with them for about an hour as they traveled over the Washington border towards Stuart Island. This pod has a pretty unique way of traveling, splitting into 2 pair, 1 male and 1 female per pair, and spreading out very far from each other. This may be a hunting technique, splitting up to cover more ground, before reconnecting with the rest of the pod.
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