Sightings Report - September 13th 2019

We had a unique encounter earlier this week with the T99s, a family we see quite often in the area. However, with them were U083 and U084 and their families, who rarely come into our waters. These orcas are still considered transient, yet due to their encounters being scarce, are labeled "unknown transients".

The group was seen traveling west in the direction of heavy fog. As they moved, they managed to snag a few harbour seals and expressed their excitement in front of us!

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - September 10th 2019

Yesterday we were with the T46s off of East Sooke in the morning, then Port Angeles in the afternoon.

While on scene with them, a rare report of a fin whale came in! Fin whales do not usually visit the Salish Sea; the last known fin whale to come in and stick around was 3 three years ago!

Fin whales are the second largest animal on earth, only being surpassed by the blue whale. They can reach 21 meters and weigh 48 metric tons! Merely seeing their long, flat backs is enough to give you an idea you're in the presence of a giant.

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - September 7th 2019

T109A2B showing off that adorable little face! After two successful hunts, the 1 year old was especially excited and continuously popped their head out of the water!

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - September 3rd 2019

We found interesting groups and mixing of different Biggs families. We first spent time with a group consisting of T60, her son and daughter T60C and T60F, and her newborn calf, T60G!. While two of her sons, T60D and T60E, were not around, two lone females, T2B and T59, seemed to take their place. Considering T60 had a new calf to care for, it is possible the two females stepped in to assist her while her juvenile sons went off with another group to give them space.

After leaving the group, we headed west following a report of Minke whales. On the way, we ran into another 3 dispersed groups of Biggs orca. Among them were the T36s, T37As, T99s, and T60's two juvenile sons, T60D and T60E! T37A also had a new calf! Soon after we arrived, one of the groups decided to swiftly dart west in the direction of where the Minkes were spotted. In the distance, we could see hunting behavior as the orcas and minke came fully out of the water. All the nearby groups became excited and started heading towards the hunt. The Minke ended up having a stroke of luck and got away!

This tour was full of many different things to see and experience. Two new calves and a minke hunt are not seen often, especially in the same trip!

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - August 30th 2019

A few days ago, there was a T-Party down near Puget Sound! The T34s, T37s, T46s, T60D + T60E, and the T100s spent most of Wednesday socializing and staying all together in the same area! We were able to witness different surface behaviors, especially from the younger juveniles and males!

Biggs orcas usually travel in small groups of 2-8 consisting of family. It is common for two families to meet up and travel together temporarily. However, it is less common for multiple family groups to come together all at once, but when they do, it's exciting for everyone! On this particular day, there were about 20 individual Biggs orcas!

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - August 28th 2019

Yesterday the T10s and T109As were traveling together in the Juan de Fuca. The T109A family consists of females and young juveniles, so having the company of T10C, a 20 year old bull, can provide great help in hunting larger prey such as sea lions.

These families mixing also gives T10C the opportunity to mate with the mature females of the T109As. With T10, his mother, being post-menopausal, and him being her only surviving offspring, she will want to ensure her genes are passed on through him! She is in charge of who he can mate with and will assist him in finding females willing to breed with him.

The two groups passed through Race Rocks and then spent time around Becher Bay looking for seals close to shore.

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - August 27th 2019

Sunday morning was spent with the T10s, a mother and son duo, and over a dozen humpback whales in the Juan De Fuca Straight.

The T10s were once a group of 4, consisting of mom T10 and her 3 sons T10A, T10B, and T10C. Sadly, T10A disappeared in 2002, and T10B disappeared in 2017. T10, who is an estimated 55 years old, has now gone through menopause and will not have anymore offspring. T10C being her only offspring left, they are incredibly closet.

After leaving the T10s to continue their course west off Sooke, we entered humpback land! A trio consisting of MMZ0020, MMX0096, and MMY0074 surprised us as they popped up right off our port side! MMY0074 specifically took interest in us as he rolled over while going beneath us.

Capt Tom
Sightings Report - August 22nd 2019

Earlier this week we spent a majority of our trip around Race Rocks. We usually stop by this ecological reserve on our tours for the different species of pinnipeds, and the T109As decided to do the same on this particular day!

We were able to see a lot of playful behavior from the youngsters of the group. We also saw quite a few on-edge sea lions swimming in the water nearby.

Southeast of Race Rocks, BC Nova also spotted a large humpback indulging in some bull kelp!

Capt Tom