© Five Star Whale Watching/Andrew Lees. Image — A Bigg’s Orca breaching out of the water near Otter Point
Bigg’s Orca, Humpback Whales, Harbour Seals and sea lions
We began our afternoon trip by heading southwest upon leaving the Victoria Harbour.
We continued on our way west past Race Rocks Ecological Reserve towards Sooke and near Otter Point we encountered a massive gathering of Bigg’s Orca! This group consisted of at least 6 families that we could identify based on their unique saddle patches, dorsal fins and scarring. These orcas are the marine mammal eating ecotype and the presence of seals, sea lions and other whales such as the Minke Whale are the biggest reason why these animals come to the Salish Sea. The large group was engaging in many social and playful behaviours and so we were treated with getting so see a wide variety of their activities such as, spy hopping, pectoral slaps, tail lobbing and even some breaching!
After out time with these animals we began to make our way back to Victoria and were lucky enough to also encounter a mother and calf Humpback Whale! These animals showed us many blows and a few of their large tail flukes.
We also stopped into Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and observed some of the area’s other marine life, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions and California Sea Lions.
It was an amazing trip out on the Salish Sea and it was a real treat to be able to see some many species and their unique behaviours!