© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Southern Resident Killer Whale adult male during our trip today.
Killer Whales, Humpbacks, & Dall’s Porpoises
Salish Sea is a wildlife wonder, and we were incredibly fortunate to see the sheer biodiversity found here today.
We headed east after leaving Victoria’s Inner Harbour, crossed the international border and encountered Southern Resident Killer whales! They were swimming close to the southwest shore of San Juan Islands. Southerns Residents are fish-eating Killer whales. Chinook salmon make up over 85% of their diet. This eco-type have strong social bonds and form large pods. We saw them hunting for fish today, which provided us the opportunity to see many of their surface-active behaviours. We saw them tail-slapping, breaching, and porpoising while following fish. It was quite a sight to see.
After leaving the Killer whales, we noticed splashes in the bow wake of a large cargo ship. Dall’s porpoises were riding the wake. This species of porpoises are often mistaken for Killer whale calves due their their black and white patterns. They are only found in the North Pacific ocean. After watching the Dall’s playfully ride the bow wake of the massive cargo ship, we headed west and encountered our third cetacean species of the day. We found two Humpback whales! These two Humpbacks had made their way to the productive waters of the Salish Sea. We saw their impressively large and robust bodies, their massive tail flukes, and their mind-blowing 20 feet tall, bushy blows.
As we watched the Humpbacks, we found ourselves surrounded by sea lion barks and growls. Our guests were keen to see where the sounds were coming from, so we headed to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. There we found California and Steller sea lions, Harbour porpoises, Northern elephant seals, and a sea otter.
It was a perfect day on the water!
To view more images from today’s trip, click on the following link.