September 16 – Orcas Near Race Rocks

© Five Star Whale Watching/Andrew Lees. Image — One of the Transient orcas on the hunt in Beecher Bay today.

Transients Orcas

We headed southwest for both our trips today and found pods of orcas. We found Transient orcas, which are the apex predators of the Salish Sea. They are marine mammal eaters and they hunt Harbour seals, sea lions, Harbour porpoises, and other whales.

This morning we found the whales at Beecher Bay, close to Sooke. They were scouring the waters for their prey. Our guests got to see the difference in the dorsal fin heights of adult males with those of adolescent males and females. We also got to have good looks at the saddle patches of many of the whales, which, along with any nicks on the dorsal fins, are used for photo-identification purposes.

In the afternoon, we found another pod of orcas. This time, they were near Bentick Island. They had been scouring the waters for the prey and started making the kill just as we got there. It was incredible! They cornered their prey to the kelp beds near the island. During their kill, we got to see them tail-slap and spy-hop. We only found out what they were hunting when a mottled grey head appeared out of the water for one last before it was dragged underwater by the orcas. Our guests were just thrilled to be able to see nature at its best on our trip today.

There is a nearby ecological reserve, called Race Rocks, with an abundance of prey for Transient orcas. We went there for both our trips to take a better look at what the Transients like to eat. We found Harbour seals, and both California and Steller sea lions resting and sunbathing on the rocks.

To view more images from today’s trip, click on the following link.

September 16 – Morning Trip

September 16 – Afternoon Trip

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