© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Bigg’s orca family known as the T038’s surface in unison this afternoon, seen near Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
Today we had a wonderful adventure southwest of Victoria. We began by travelling southwest into Juan de Fuca Strait, until we reached Race Rocks lighthouse, of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.
To our excitement, we soon encountered a family of orcas! The family we saw consists of a 38 year old mother and her four children, ages 18, 15, 10 and 6 years old. The T038’s are transient (or Bigg’s) orcas, meaning they feed on marine mammals. Common prey in the area include Harbor seals, porpoises and even Sea Lions!
T038A has a unique white patch on the right side of her dorsal fin, which helps us to identify her and the rest of the family. Other features like dorsal fins and saddle patches can identify orcas. We were thrilled to watch the different individuals in this family travel and surface together!
Before departing Race Rocks, we spotted one more species. A sea otter was lying in a kelp forest. Sea otters may wrap themselves in kelp while they rest or sleep.
To view more images from today’s trip, click the link below: