TYPES OF WHALES:
Both Resident orcas and Transient orcas are distinguished by their huge dorsal fins, some protruding as much as 2 meters (6 feet) above the water.
Our Pacific Coast is also home to Minke, Gray, and Humpback whales. While not as common and as 'showy' as our orcas, they are nevertheless just as impressive. These whales can be found most any time of the year- as contrasted by many orca pods who disappear mysteriously during the late fall and return in the early spring.
OTHER MARINE LIFE:
The Oak Bay are features two marine conservation areas, each home to large colonies of seals and sea birds. You can also encounter sea lions, dolphins and porpoises as well as raptors such as ospreys and eagles throughout these Gulf Island waters.
We have two species of sea lions on our coasts: the brown coloured Stellars and the black California sea lions. The Stellar sea lions are by far the larger, weighing more than 1,000 kg (2000 + pounds), more than twice the size of their southern cousins. These brown levithians, both male and female can be found here year around.
Marine Life is Plentiful: : On our day sailing trips out of Victoria there is an excellent chance of spotting a wide variety of marine life, from seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises and whales to many seabirds, and eagles.
Whale Watching Bonus: One or more whale pods can often be encountered along the coast of San Juan Island, in the vicinity of Lime Kiln Park, where they tend to congregate during the summer. If whales is what we choose to focus on, crossing Haro Strait to reach these waters requires a little more than two hours of sailing from our base in Oak Bay. Sailing is an unobtrusive and sustainable way of mingling with these gigantic creatures without interfering with their livelihoods.
Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) are among the more plentiful of the several types of whales to be found here. - numbering some 80 whales in three pods. In addition there are substantial numbers of the more elusive 'transients' - a species of Killer Whales who difference is primarily that of language and diet. For example, Transients hunt only mammalian prey such as seals and sea lions - as opposed to salmon and other fish pursued by Resident Whales. Another major difference is that Transient Killer Whales by virtue of their land-based prey, can usually be seen near shorelines and hunting in smaller packs seldom exceeding four.
Decline in Numbers: Unfortunately our southern resident population of orcas is now in jeapardy, numbering less than 80 whales. If steps are not taken soon to improve their habitat and lessen the pressures currently facing them, these orcas will disappear from our waters. Increasing levels of toxins, competition by fishermen over chum salmon their favourite diet, growing ship traffic, and increasing harrassment and noise pollution caused by whalewatchers using engines (we use sails), all combine to take their toll.