Canada, Salt Spring Island and Whales

by Freya Laughton on April 10, 2012

One of the biggest attractions to the Gulf Islands for me is the water, occupied by Resident Orca, fish-eaters, and mammal-eating  Transients. I have loved Orca from the moment I saw pictures and films of them over twenty years ago, I like other whales, and sharks and most animals, but Orca are something else, so I couldn’t come to this part of the world without looking for them, I didn’t have to look far. Most of the islands have whale watching tours that go out during the season, I have been on one before over six years ago from Victoria, the boats keep to a schedule, and have a queue of people waiting to go out, we saw whales briefly, but I wanted more, and found it on Salt Spring Island with The Gulf Island’s Whale and Wildlife Tours. Once Ian Gidney had our contact details he could let us know as soon as there was news of Orca in the area. Transients were spotted on Saturday, so after the fantastic market we set out from Ganges harbour to find them. And there they were, barely twenty minutes away off Ruckle Park.

Transient Orca, Salt Spring Island BC 1

A family of about six or seven, including a baby, hunting seals.

Transient Orca, Salt Spring Island BC 2We watched from a respectable distance as they pursued  the seals, taking us back past the sailing club and little boats out for the day, right into the harbour!

Transient Orca - Salt Spring Island BC 4The hunt looked calm and effortless above the water, although I’m sure it was a different story below.

Transient Orca - Salt Spring Island BC 5The family left the harbour in a full sleepy state, and swam out to sea, to continue their journey.

Transient Orca, Salt Spring Island BC 3Ian then set out to continue the tour, as if three hours watching Orca wasn’t enough! We spend over another hour around the Islands looking at sea lions, the lucky seals that got away.

Seals on Whale and wildlife tourA pair of Bald Eagles.

Bald Eagles on Whale and wildlife tour 1And lots of Bonaparte gulls.

Bonaparte Gulls on Whale and wildlife tourWe couldn’t have asked for a better tour, glorious weather, a great guide, whales to watch, and all in such a beautiful place. Thank you Ian Gidney, and thanks to my Pa Christopher who leant me his telephoto lens.

Whale and wildlife tour 1