Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Bigg's (transient) & Resident Killer Whales all in ONE trip!!

These last few days have been quite the experiences on the water for a lot of out trips.  We have been seeing both types of killer whales on a single trip.  Allow me to elaborate on this statement.  There are numerous eco-types or forms of Orca/Killer Whales around the world.  This depends on their geography, genetics and language amongst other determining factors.  The two types we typically see here on the West Coast around the southern part of Vancouver Island are Bigg's (transient) Orca & Southern Resident Orca.  Firstly, Bigg's or Transient Orca's diet consists mainly of marine mammals such as, harbour seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even young baleen whales (humpbacks & grey whales).  They tend to be in smaller pods of around 2-6 but can be seen in larger pods of over 15 whales at a time.  Secondly, the southern resident orca are our salmon eating orca that tend to spend their summer around our local waters and are the most studied orca in the world due to their consistency of being here year in and year out.  Furthermore, they have larger pod sizes and out of the 3 pods that frequent here in the summer there are a total of 80 Orca (20-40 Orca in the 3 different families/pods).  There are a lot of other differing factors associated with these two types of Orca, which include behavioural differences, diet, traveling patterns, physical appearance, vocalizations and genetics amongst others.

Photo Credit to Captain Russ Nicks ~ T18's west side of Pender Island heading north

What is amazing about seeing both types of Orca is that they do avoid each other in the wild & to be able see both of them within a small area this many times already in June is great to see!! It could be due to the fact that the Bigg's Orca population is growing steadily at a rate of 15% a year, and their presence around our local waters have increased these last few seasons.  At the end of the day as long as this marine system can not only sustain a stable population but a growing one for both Orca types, I am a dead set happy camper.

It is amazing to be able to interact with both types of Orca on a single trip 3.5 hour trip, as it is a great way to show our guests just how different these two types are in comparison to each other.  Personally, just being out here on the water and seeing one whale is amazing let alone both types of Orca and potential other cetacean species, such as, humpbacks, greys & minkes.  Love this coast!

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