Orcas, Seals, and Birds
We have had some pretty incredible days this summer with weather and whales, but I think Thursday may have been one of the best so far. Our morning tour started off with J Pod just off of Sidney and we were able to hang out with them until they passed Saturna Island on their way to the Fraser River. It’s amazing how fast these animals can swim when they are in search of salmon. We started to return to Sidney with a quick stop at Java Rocks to check out the array of birds that reside there. On any given day you have the opportunity to see Rhino Aucklets, Pigeon Guillimonts, Oyster Catchers and Bonaparte Gulls. If you are lucky enough you also might see some seals hauled out of the water basking in the sun. A great way to start the day.
In the waters off of Sidney we tend to see two types of Orcas. One type is our Resident Orcas (J,K and L Pods). These are the salmon eating Orcas. The second type are Transient Orcas. This eco-type eats marine mammals like harbour seals, harbour and Dall’s porpoises and Steller sea lions and tend to travel in smaller groups (2-6) as compared to the resident pods (20+ in each family group). We were able to spend our afternoon tour with these animals watching as the chased down lunch. They all work together by diving around, over and under their prey, hitting them from above and below and hitting them their their heads. It’s a pretty incredible thing to watch if you have stomach for it!
The final trip of our evening was spent with part of K pod of our Resident Orcas. These animals return to our waters every year from about May until October. Their diet consists mostly of salmon and they spend much of their time foraging for food. When they are not eating or sleeping, these very social animals can be found breaching, spy hopping, tail slapping, and playing around with each other. It’s amazing to watch and we count ourselves lucky every time we get to be a part of the show that these amazing Orcas put on! The evening trips are a favourite of ours during the summer. It tends to be quieter on the water, the lighting is great for photography and we love returning to Sidney as the sun is setting.