September 5th- Whales to the West

© Five Star Whale Watching/ Katie Smith. Image — An orca whale syphops with pectoral fins visible amongst other Bigg’s orcas southwest of Victoria this afternoon.

Orcas and Juvenile Humpback Whale 

We had a fantastic afternoon witnessing multiple species of whales! We were lucky to see multiple individuals with exciting behaviours.

We headed west to begin our journey. As we travelled along Vancouver Island, we encountered our first whale species! This was a group of Bigg’s, or transient orcas. These animals were very active, playful and displaying lots of interesting behaviours!

There were several individuals here, and we got a great view of one whale as it spyhopped; we could clearly see its pectoral fins and white underside. Orcas have these patterns so they can blend in with the environment both above and below. Bigg’s orcas feed on other marine mammals, namely Harbour seals, Sea Lions and porpoise. They were following the coastline; these whales can be found near and off the shore. It is an incredible opportunity to see these top predators!

We decided to search for more animals and species. We headed farther west to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, and found some pinnipeds! This is a large group that encompasses the species we saw, California Sea Lions and Steller Sea Lions.

While here, we were fortunate to see another whale! This was a different species; it was a Humpback Whale. This was a juvenile and we were able to see this massive animal surface, curve its back and tail fluke! Humpback Whales feed during spring and summer months and return to their tropical mating and birthing grounds in the winter.

This animal was not fully grown, but at maximum size these animals may range approximately between 49-60 feet long! They do not feed on marine mammals like orcas, and instead feed on on krill and small schooling fish.

Humpback Whales are the largest whales we have the opportunity to see in this area, and are one of the largest whale species in the world. It is an incredible sight to see such a majestic animal!

We had a memorable day with many unique and beautiful species in the Salish Sea. To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below:

September 5th- Afternoon with Two Whale Species

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