Captain Anthony slipped the Ocean Magic from its berth in Victoria’s inner harbour and took us out into the Salish Sea. Our trip took us east to Chatham and Discovery islands. Here the marine life was everywhere, harbour seals, blue herons, eagles and cormorants. We then crossed Haro Strait and headed to Whale Rock, this small island was home today to many Stellar Sea Lions and a pair of Bald Eagles. We also caught sight of Harbour Porpoise near the island. Our sharp eyed crew then spotted a huge group of Bald Eagles on a small nearby island, we slowly approached and observed over 20 Bald Eagles resting, flying and playing in the wind. Truly amazing. This was great wildlife viewing experience, our talented crew of Mika, Mark and Dan kept us informed of all we saw and answered all the questions posed by our passengers. Yet another wonderful time of the water with Prince of Whales!
Please note, all of the photographs are taken with telephoto lenses and are heavily cropped.
The Ocean Magic slipped from the dock in Victoria’s Inner Harbor at 1 pm. Our Skipper Anthony took the Ocean Magic past the Victoria Breakwater and headed east. The clouds parted and the sun warmed us as we worked our way past the waterfront. Out trip then took us past Oak Bay and out past Kelp Reef then up Haro Strait. Here we cam across the Killer Whales of J Pod along with L87 from L Pod. These are Southern Resident Orca, the fish eaters. They were all spread out in small groups over an area of a few miles. Our skipper carefully put us in great position to view these amazing Killer Whales as they worked the waters in search of food. We had a great pass of two Mothers with their youngsters swimming along in their wake, taking advantage of the slip stream to save energy. We then made our way back to Victoria and along the way we spotted Dalls Porpoise, these 300 to 400 pound cetaceans zip through the water sending a rooster tail of water up as they break the surface to breath. Mother nature gave us a great March day, sunny, calm seas and a great wildlife show with Orca, Dalls Porpoise, Bald Eagles and Seals. Truly a wonderful marine wildlife adventure with Prince of Whales!
There’s nothing like seeing wild marine mammals in our cold, but nutrient rich waters. Victoria sees an abundance of variety of wildlife when ever the Prince of Whales Zodiacs head out of the harbour, at this time of year. Sunday, was no exception, when Skipper Mark took us west of the harbour to ‘Albert Head ‘ ,where we had reports of inbound Orca. It wasn’t long before our knowledgeable skipper was able to identify who these Killer Whales were. It was apparent that this group consisted of mothers and their young, the family sub group, J17′s, members of our Southern Resident clan, JPod. This group have three youngsters, that were busy chasing fish and generally having a good time together. J 27, and J 34 , two males were seen as well as the J 22 family group. We left them doing what these wild animals like to do best, forage for fish in unpredictable patterns. We headed toward the Chain Islets at Oak Bay Flats, and saw several Harbour Seals, Harlequin Ducks, a pair of Bald Eagles and even a small fishing boat flying an oversized Canadian Flag. Upon our return to the harbour two young Long-tailed Ducks were seen. Our guests from Brazil, Ontario, Lethbridge, Alberta and Olympia, Washington State, thoroughly enjoyed their wildlife trip in ideal weather conditions.
Our experienced and knowledgeable skipper, Mark took the yellow zodiac out of the Victoria Harbour and headed us south west in search of some of the wildlife that can be seen in these rich, cold waters. It wasn’t long before we found several Harbour Porpoise foraging in the currents of the ebb tide. Several bait balls were evident as many gulls congregated around them. Unfortunately it was a grey afternoon and there was a fair size chop on the water in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so our skipper headed us in shore where we found calmer water. Here we were able to marvel at the scenic and rugged coast line and its variety of vegetation, bird and animal life. There were Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Bufflehead Ducks and other sea birds. A stop over at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve gave us looks at a Bald Eagle, Cormorants on rocks and a host of big blonde Steller Sea Lions. As we headed back into the harbour we observed a Canadian coast guard vessel docking. Our visitors from Russia, Australia, Mexico, South Dakota and Victoria enjoyed their wildlife adventure with Prince of Whales.
The Charter vessel, ‘Pacific Explorer ‘ headed out of the harbour under sunny skies, and turned East to meet up with some of the Southern Resident Orca, that forage for fish, especially Salmon at this time of year. Today they were reported off the west coast of San Juan Island. We had glimpses of Harbour Porpoises, a very shy cetacean, on the way across Haro Strait. Near False Bay we were able to see some members of L Pod, L 88, ‘Wave Walker ‘ and L 41, ‘Mega ‘. One of the adult male Orca, delighted those of us on board with several beaches. These behavioural displays are always a big hit for our guests. We spent time with a few of L Pod whales while they foraged far apart from one another. On the return to the harbour we were pleased to see a Bald Eagle and some Harbour Seals on rocks at Chatham and Discovery Islands off Oak Bay. Although the clouds had moved in, we were able to see much of the incredible wildlife found in these waters. We were also privileged to share a happy moment with two of our guests, who celebrated their engagement on board. Just another fabulous trip with Prince of Whales.
Marie , Orca-Magic