A night with the T069's

The T069's have been visiting Tofino at least since 1991 - when Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society started documenting Transient Killer Whale sightings in the area. They are seen annually and have pretty much explored all the routes in the Sound. This gang is easy to identify on the water, T069 the matriarch has a large notch on the bottom of her dorsal fin and her son T069C has grown into a huge bull. Last September John and I got a call that the T069's were off Vargas Island killing a sea lion. Our kids were at my parent's house for dinner so we said lets go out for date night. Tofino style: in the boat, with our cameras and the T069 killer whales!  When we arrived on the scene the whales were breaching onto the sea lion (who was still alive) and they were all very excited. Hey, this was a feast and who would not be excited for food! The orcas spent over an hour working that poor sea lion who managed to stay alive until the very end. They jumped on him and tossed him in the air. They feasted on their prey and then they celebrated. This was one of the BEST whale watching encounters I have ever had. They breached and jumped out of the water at least 100 times in total. All of them were joyful and playful. A few boats showed up on the way home from Hot Springs Cove to watch the whales play. After everyone left, it was just John, myself and the whales. They still continued to celebrate up until we reluctantly left at dusk. The most impressive moment for me was watching T069C, the large bull, breach out of the water with his massive, black dorsal fin in the air. It was an impressive moment that will last a lifetime for me. This was the best date night we had in such a long time! We went home with thousands of photographs, memories and smiles on our faces.