© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A juvenile Humpback Whale “kelping” near Constance Bank.
Bigg’s Orca, Humpback, Seals and Sea Lions
We began our afternoon search by heading west out of the Victoria Harbour and following the coastline.
Near Becher Bay we encountered a group of Bigg’s Orca! These animals, also know as Transient Orca were identified as T10’s, a female mother of about 55 years and her 19 yr old son. The mother of this group is easily identified by a notch that is missing on her dorsal fin and her son being a male has a very large straight dorsal fin. The Bigg’s Orca are the marine mammal eating ecotype of orca and they hunt seals, sea lions, porpoise and other whales.
After our time with the T10’s we began to head back toward Victoria, encountering a Humpback Whale along the way! This individual was a juvenile, though for this species that still means very large, and was displaying a behaviour known as “Kelping”.This behaviour mean it would stay near the surface and rub its head and body against a large floating mass of Bull Whip Kelp.
It was an amazing trip to get to see both the Bigg’s Orca and such a large animal such as the Humpback Whale engaging in this uncommon and playful behaviour!