© Five Star Whale Watching/ Katie Smith. Image — Two groups of Bigg’s orcas gathered to socialize near Mandarte Island this afternoon.
Today was a great afternoon seeing a number of orca whales! We headed north into Haro Strait on our trip and began our search for wildlife.
When we came to an area around Mandarte Island, we encountered these orcas. It was not only one family of orcas, but two! They had come together to socialize in a large group. The whales surfaced in unison, and we were able to see them swim and breathe together. Orca whales may follow close to shore in order to search for nearby prey, or may also be found in deeper water. They are constantly on the move, and may travel up to 100 miles in a 24 hour period.
These orcas are top predators; Bigg’s orcas feed on other marine mammals, commonly Harbour seals, Sea Lions and porpoise. Oftentimes like today, pods may come together to socialize and/or mate. Orcas are very social animals and live in complex societies.
We were even able to witness a young animal sopyhop, which means it lifted its entire head out the water to take a look at its surroundings. This showed the unmistakable markings of orcas, with white undersides, a black back and a white eye patch.
It was truly a memorable experience seeing so many of these powerful animals in one place. We were thrilled from such a great encounter on the water!
To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below: