Saturday, March 29, 2008
Cooler than expected Spring temperatures could not dampen the enthusiasm of the passengers who joined Five Star Whale Watching for our Friday, March 28th cruise.
One of the joys of venturing out at this time of year is that there is chance for a wide variety of Marine Mammals, and our collective patience was rewarded by one of the most impressive encounters: A solitary male Transient (Marine Mammal Eating) Killer Whale.
Here was a creature weighing about 8.5 Tonnes (19,000 pounds) and 8.5m (28 feet)long searching by himself for a meal of Harbour Seals, Harbour Porpoise, Dall's Porpoise, California Sea Lions or Steller Sea Lions. We all paused to contemplate that here we were encountering a creature in the Wild that likely looks and lives very much like its ancestors did 5 million years ago.
Ron Bates of The Marine Mammal Research Group (MMRG) provided these photos that confirm this animal as T103, a male Transient Killer Whale estimated to be 40 years old, with a distinct pointed Dorsal Fin that is almost 2m (over 6 feet) tall. Note the "Closed" Saddle Patch (The white patch that is almost the shape of a saddle and sit where you might imagine a saddle would fit a Killer Whale just behind the Dorsal Fin). It is called "Closed" because the Saddle Patch has no black intruding into it.
T103 was diving for periods of up to 7 1/2 minutes. Remarkable.
At Secretary Island we saw 3 juvenile and 2 adult Bald Eagles. As one adult circled overhead we could get a sense of how immense their wing span is (2m or over 6 feet).
Many of the Steller and California Sea Lions usually found at Race Rocks appeared to out on fishing trips. The dozen or so that we saw were all huddled on the S.E. island staying out of the cool breeze.
Another wonderful day for the passengers and crew of Five Star Whale Watching...and the season has just begun!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
HAPPY EASTER FROM FIVE STAR WHALE WATCHING!!!
Five Star Whale Watching had its first official trip of the 2008 season yesterday (Good Friday, March 21, 2008)...We journeyed out on "Fast Cat", one of our Expedition Catamarans, and encountered Transient (Marine Mammal Eating) Killer Whales South East of William Head and followed them to about 2 miles ESE of Race Rocks.
Our preliminary I.D. was T-49 group of Transient Killer Whales (4 Adult Females & 3 Calves). T-51, a large Male who occasionally travels with this group, was not there. One new calf seemed to be less than a year old...maybe even just months old.
We say "Preliminary I.D." as Ron Bates of the Marine Mammal Research Group (MMRG) has taught up to always take time to properly examine our detailed photographs after the trip as on the scene I.D.'s can be skewed by expectations and adrenaline! We will post the actual pictures early next week. The photo above is courtesy of the book "Transients" authored by Dr. John K .B. Ford and Graeme M. Ellis and published by UBC Press/Vancouver and University of Washington Press/Seattle.
There was a tightly packed group of Steller Sea Lions at Race Rocks. Tightly packed because even though the surface of the sea was very calm, a large and powerful swell was rising and falling 8 to 10 feet up against the rocks, forcing the Steller Sea Lions to all retreat farther up the rocks than usual and gather on one portion of Race Rocks that was in the lee of the crashing waves. Beautiful Day. Crew was: Capt. Trev Neufeld, Marine Mammal Research Group (MMRG) Researcher Ron Bates, and Marine Naturalists Jim Dale & Josh McInnes.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Last season was one of the best seasons ever to be out on the water in the Salish Sea and watching the variety of Marine Mammals and other marine life in this pristine environment. From the increase in Humpback Whale sightings, to the new born Orca calf's in J & L Pod, to the sightings of a Pacific White Sided Dolphin or watching the new Seal Pups, there was always something magical to see during our voyages.
With expert and enthusiastic crew and its expedition Catamarans, Five Star Whale Watching provides an unrivalled Marine Adventure and educational experience. All the crew at Five Star welcome you to join us on our Marine Adventures during the 2008 season. We look forward to seeing you on the water soon!