Written by Simon Pidcock
Spring Whale Report
It feels like summer is here on the Salish Sea. The spring sightings have been excellent with multiple groups of Bigg’s Killer Whales and Humpback Whales visiting our waters. J Pod our most frequently seen family has also been making some appearances and the new calves are looking healthy and boisterous.
The Bigg’s Killler Whales (mammal eaters) have not disappointed with some unbelievable displays of sheer power. We were lucky enough to witness one of my favourite families of Bigg’s Killer Whales the “T137’s”, a family of four hunting a Steller Sea Lion recently. The matriarch of the family, T137 launched a full-grown Steller Sea Lion at least 4 meters in the air. I’ve spent 14 years watching whales in the Salish Sea, watched multiple sea lion kills but never have I seen a 900kg or 2000lbs sea lion cartwheeling 4 meters above the surface of the ocean.
Another noteworthy encounter and sighting we’ve had recently was seeing a young Bigg’s Killer Whale reunited with some of his family. Some may remember in the summer 2013, a 4-year-old killer whale was found by researchers trapped in an inlet on the Central Coast. The whale was identified as T046C2 and named “Sam”. After finding Sam the researchers had to leave Sam in the bay but made a plan to return and two weeks later managed to herd the small whale out of the tidal bay into open water. It’s thought that Sam was separated from his family while they were hunting harbor seals along the shoreline. It was questioned whether Sam was going to be able to find and hunt food by himself and if he would be able to find his family again. Since being rescued he has been sighted a few times on the coast but never traveling with his family. We have recently had two encounters with Sam and are happy to report that he his once again traveling with some of his family members! This is our 14th year running whale watching eco tours from Cowichan Bay!