June 29- Bigg’s Orca Afternoon

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — Two Bigg’s orcas of the T049A’s surface together near Oak Bay, Victoria this afternoon.

Bigg’s Orcas

We had a very exciting encounter this afternoon. We began our journey heading east. We did not have to search far, as we fortunately spotted a family of Bigg’s (transient) orcas off the coast of Oak Bay!

There were four individuals, this was the T049A family. The matriarch is a 32 year-old mother, accompanied by her three children. In orca pods, related and older females are dominant, such as a mother or grandmother.

We saw the orcas hunt and kill a seal; they were very active! The whales were moving quickly, and we could see them porpoising. This is when a cetacean leaps out of the water quickly in a series of short, shallow dives. In addition to this, the whales were tail slapping and diving. There was lots of excitement and splashing!

Many seabirds gathered in hopes of scavenging leftover food. In addition to Harbour seals, transient orcas in the area may also hunt porpoise and Sea Lions. They hunt cooperatively as a group and share their kill. We had a remarkable time seeing these top predators hunt. We headed back, thrilled from our unique encounter!

To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below:

June 29- T049A’s Hunting a Harbour Seal

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