© Five Star Whale Watching/Andrew Lees. Image — T11A, an adult male Transient orca swimming westwards just off Sooke today.
Transient Orcas & Humpbacks
What an amazing day on the water today! We encountered both orcas and humpbacks, and even saw a whale defecate.
We headed southwest towards Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where we found Humpbacks feeding in the tide lines. These 40 tonne animals are only in the Salish Sea to feed and they like to make the most of their time up here by using strategic feeding methods. They are often found in areas of high nutrient densities that attract zooplankton and small schooling fish, such as: Pacific Herring, pilchard, and Pacific Sand Lance.
Just as one of the whales went for a deeper dive, we saw a cloud of brownish-grey colour on the surface of the water. It was whale poop! The idea of seeing whale poop might sound unappealing, but what we saw today was a marine ecosystem engineer’s important contribution towards the nutrient cycle of the ocean. It was a perfect opportunity to teach our guests the importance of whale poop.
While we were still fascinated and excited about the whale’s poop(it was a whale nerd paradise), we were informed of another sighting nearby. Following up on the call, we encountered two Transient orcas just off Sooke. The pair we saw were the T11s. They form a mother-calf pair and are always seen traveling together. The son, T11A(pictured above), is a relatively big individual. He is 38 years old and has a very distinctly curved large dorsal fin.
We ended our trip on a high note when we encountered some more marine mammals. We went to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and saw many sea lions, Harbour seals, and Northern elephant seals.
To view more images from our trip today, click on the following links.