Big Momma! Transient Killer Whale T109 in Tofino!!

Big Momma! Transient Killer Whale T109 in Tofino!!

Big Momma! T109 (born in the mid 1970’s) is a frequent visitor to Clayoquot Sound. This matriarch is a mother to 4 daughters and 1 son plus Grandmother/Great Grandmother to 13 offspring. She was in Tofino yesterday with T109D, T109D1 and T109E. Yesterday was our first encounter with her since T109B and T109C split off with their offspring.

Read More

Are the T023's the new locals?

Are the T023's the new locals?

A big shout out to Captain Chris McCue from Jamie’s Whaling Station for picking up the T023’s coming into the Tofino Harbour yesterday. It was a windy and choppy afternoon so the Killer Whales in calm waters were a real treat for everyone. John and I caught up with the Motley Crew gang (all of them: Janice and the C’s and D’s) in Browning Passage. We left them last night at the entrance to Gunner.

Read More

Killer Whales! The T023's were back in Tofino!

Killer Whales! The T023's were back in Tofino!

Yesterday afternoon we got word that a gang of Bigg’s Killer Whales were picked up behind Meares Island. Howie and I headed out on the Eco to see if we could identify the whales. We picked up the Killer Whales at Bear Bluff way back in the Bedwell. Right away we knew it was T023 and T023D and her offspring. We had just seen them behind Meares Island on Monday and observed them heading down the coast. I guess they are liking all the Sea Lions behind Meares Island!

Read More

A Rare Visit from the T050s Killer Whales near Tofino!

A Rare Visit from the T050s Killer Whales near Tofino!

On Thursday evening we got a report that there were Killer Whales off Hippie Point. John and Howie headed out in the Eco at 5:30 pm. They came across a gang of Transient Killer Whales between Monks and Hippie Point. They followed the whales to Saranac Island and then back to Roberts Point. The T050’s were spy hopping and traveling. They spent about an hour with these Killer Whales. Tim on the Hootka Kootla was on his way back from Hot Springs Cove and was able to get a few looks of the gang too!

We don’t see the T050’s often in Tofino. The last time we photographed them was October 2015. This gang like to work the inlets and have been successful hunters while visiting Tofino. These Killer Whales are more frequently seen in Alaskan waters.

Read More

Killer Whales up Tofino Inlet (T023C's)

Killer Whales up Tofino Inlet (T023C's)

The T023C Killer Whales make an appearance in Tofino today!

Early this morning I was drinking my tea and getting ready for a busy Saturday when I got a text from our Guide Tim Tom that a gang of Killer Whales were passing his window at Opitsaht. All my Saturday plans changed. John and I headed down to the Eco to set out up Browning Passage to find them. Tim had jumped into his boat and was with the T023C’s when we arrived on scene. We followed the orcas up Browning Passage, into Tofino Inlet where they led us up Tranquil. Along the way they tangled with a sea lion but left it alone after a few breaches.

The T023C’s have broken off from T023’s, aka Motley Crew. T023C was born in 1990 and she appears to have three calves (born in 2009, 2013 and a new one that looks like it was born in the last year or more.

The last time we saw the T023C’s was in May 2016 and they were still with the Matriarch T023. They all took the same path of coming through the Tofino Harbour and headed up Tofino Inlet.

Both the morning and afternoon Whale Watching Tours were able to get out to see the Killer Whales!

Read More

Southern Resident Killer Whales - K Pod was here!

We had the Southern Resident Killer Whales K Pod on all our Whale Watching Tours yesterday! I manifested orcas the night before because I knew we had guests on board who really, really wanted to see Killer Whales. The whales were picked up coming down the coast near Hot Springs Cove and we were able to see them off Cleland Island. John and I knew they were SRKW but we were not sure which pod they were. We don't see these whales very often! We were able to get some photo identification shots with our permit. The killer whales were last seen traveling down the coast, likely back to the Salish Sea! 

Afterwards we sent the photos to Ken Balcomb at the Centre for Whale Research in Washington state. He confirmed they were K Pod! With only 18 members, K Pod is the smallest of the three pods in the Southern Resident Killer Whale community. The  oldest female in K pod is K12, estimated to have been born in 1972. K pod has three mature males, K21, and K26, and K25.  The most recent calf born into K pod is K44 (male, born 2011), the first known calf of K27.

As with most marine mammals, their movements are determined by their food source. For the Southern Residents, this means following the salmon returning to the Fraser River in British Columbia every summer. In the winter, when Chinook salmon are less abundant, they  must expand their range to find food. 

SRKW Status: Endangered. Designated endangered in Canada in 2001, USA in 2005. 

Please note that when we are photographing killer whales with our permit we do not have paying guests on board and we send our photo IDs to DFO, Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society and the Center for Whale Research. 

Southern Resident Killer Whales, K Pod, Tofino
Tofino Whale Watching Tour 
Tofino Whale Watching Tour 

Northern Resident Killer Whales A34's off Tofino

On Sunday morning John and I heard reports on the radio of a large group of killer whales off Lennard Light. We jumped into the boat and headed out off the Glory Hole to meet up with the fleet and the whales. We knew this large group of killer whales were not Transient Killer Whales but likely Northern Resident Killer Whales. The last time we had Northern Residents in Tofino on a whale watching tour was the H5's in August 2014. We spent some time photographing them. Our Tofino Whale Watching Tours and our Hot Springs Tour were able get some good looks at these killer whales as they made their way up the coast past Tofino. The NRKW we saw yesterday day were the A12 Matriline (A34's) and this was a first meeting for us since we have been document killer whale sightings in our area!  They were moving slowly (3.6 knots) up the coast. We observed them tail slapping, spy hopping and traveling. They are a beautiful family of whales to watch. 

Northern Resident killer whales generally travel in large pods of closely-related individuals within predictable ranges and exclusively feed on fish, primarily salmonid species. The Northern Resident population roam the waters off northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast as far north as southeast Alaska.

This week Whale Watching in Tofino has been absolutely amazing! We have had several orca sightings on our whale watching tours, humpback whales off Long Beach and lots of Grey Whales, even today we had a mother and calf spy hopping at Tonquin Beach.