© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — An orca from K-Pod, of the Southern Resident Killer Whale community surfaces while hunting near Sheringham Lighthouse this afternoon.
We had a fantastic time on the water today, encountering a fascinating group of animals! We began our journey this afternoon by heading south out of the Victoria harbour, and continued to travel west in our search.
At a point along the southwest coast of the island, near Sheringham Lighthouse, we encountered whales! These were Orca whales, otherwise known as Killer Whales. These orcas belonged to the Southern Resident Killer Whale community (SRKW), a large group that is comprised of three unique family pods (J,K and L). The individuals that we saw here were of K-pod, and they were hunting for prey. The SRKWs feed almost wholly on Chinook salmon, which comprises the majority of their diet. They are therefore dependent on this resource for survival.
We could even identify a single whale in the group, known as K20, or “Spock”. She is a mother in the group and was seen to be moving quickly in pursuit of a likely salmon under the water. Orcas can be most easily told apart by their unique white or grey patches behind their dorsal fin as well as the shape and size of their fin. There were multiple individuals present here, and it was amazing to see this orca family as they successfully hunted their prey! These orcas will require a healthy number of salmon in the future to thrive in the Salish Sea.
We witnessed these whales as they quickly dove and surfaced, often even surfacing in unison. Orcas are top predators, and are extremely intelligent with tight social bonds. They are a remarkable species to witness, and we headed east towards home with a fantastic experience!
To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below: