Epic Day on the Water Whale Watching
Wow! Today is definitely one for the books, where do I even begin… I guess I’ll start at the beginning, sweating buckets in my giant red PFD full body suit as I listen to Simon from Ocean EcoVentures give his safety talk before we embark on what turned out to be an epic afternoon, to say the least. There is no way to fully describe this experience in its entirety; it is really something that needs to be experienced first-hand. Our Captain Simon was super knowledgeable about everything we saw travelling towards the meeting point of the Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is where the real magic happened today.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. There was lots to see on the way to the Orcas meeting (or should I say feeding) place for the day. By this time I was glad I had on that red suit because it was keeping me nice and warm, the wind was definitely getting a little chilly as we zipped down the coast. I watched as all the houses that dotted the coast quickly passed us by, I was totally daydreaming before I was brought back into reality as we came to a slow stop.
Simon pointed out a group of seals sunbathing on the rocks and a few that were still searching for their lunch. These seals choose to make Spieden Island their home for the day, an island like none I have ever seen before. The west facing side of the island was completely bare while the east facing side of the island was covered in lush forest. Simon explained that it has been like that since the last Ice Age. Crazy, right?! But before we were about to pull away from the island we spotted a bald eagle, so we had to stay and watch for a minute. My dad would tell me growing up that bald eagles would always bring good luck.
As we continued our journey in search of Orcas we came across a group of Sea Lions, boy are those guys big!! We quickly watched as they tried to get up massive bodies onto the rocks so they could spend the afternoon soaking up the sun. Talk about a struggle. The things we all do for relaxation 😉 We didn’t stay long with them because the real excitement was still waiting for us.
I still believe what my dad told me all those years ago about eagles being good luck and today it was proven yet again because after leaving those Sea Lions we got even luckier.
It is an awe-inspiring moment when you see for the first time an Orca Whale breach so majestically out of the ocean water. We were now coming to the waters where the Strait Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca meet. This is where our first whale greeted us.
I was happy to see just the one, but what came next I was not expecting. Apparently we came on a good day because there were 3, yes 3 different pods of Orcas in our waters today, both resident whales and transient. In total I think we saw over 20 different Orca whales and one Humpback whale. We actually spent a fair amount of time following a mom and her offspring, who seemed to be attached to her at the hip. I learned that Orcas are continuously moving, even while there are sleeping so it was fun to follow along as they foraged for their favorite treat, Chinook Salmon.
Watching them breach and peak out of the water and waiting for them to come back up after their deep dive brings about a sense of simplicity. Like I said before, it is difficult to capture the entire experience because I was really an opportunity of a lifetime. Lucky Friday the Thirteenth I guess. Being out in the open water and watching these beauties in all their glory, really opened my eyes to this impressive ecosystem that is so very close to home. I no longer see these animals as “Killer Whales”, who have always been portrayed as violent creatures, but rather a strong, majestic and small part of this marine ecosystem that is put in jeopardy every year. I learned so much from Captain Simon, and I cannot even begin to express how amazingly epic this trip was. They will definitely be seeing my face again at Ocean EcoVentures!! Next time I will remember to bring my camera so I can get some good shots, iPhone just don’t quite cut it. Thankfully Simon got some amazing shots and was able to share them with us 🙂 Oh and maybe some binoculars too for next time 😉
So until then, summer is waiting and more adventures are calling my name.
Bye for now,
Visitor Information Counsellor, Tourism Nanaimo
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