An Incredible Day with Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales – 12/3/15

What a day. It all began when what looked like every non-essential Vancouver Aquarium employee came running down to the seawall. As volunteers, my wife Christine and I were among them when a group of Biggs killer whales were passing Lion’s Gate Bridge, leaving the inlet after an excursion that as we learned later had taken them deep into Burrard Inlet and were now on their way out. That was quite a sight, and there seemed to be at least one calf in that group. When they disappeared from sight we really did not expect to see them again any time soon. But we had no idea.
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We headed to Whytecliff Park to unwind a bit after a long day that started at 7:30am, and we hoped to see harbour porpoise. Though at that time of the day, we did not expect much.There were some harbour seals though, and lots of seabirds and bald eagles. After a while we noticed that all the harbour seals had disappeared. Not a single one remained, and for about 20 minutes we saw absolutely nothing. And then we spotted a dark dorsal fin near the opposite shore. Could that be a harbour porpoise? That fin seemed a bit oversized for a porpoise. Could it be…? It had to be. And sure enough, when it surfaced the next time, it was accompanied by other whales – killer whales. It appeared to be the exact same group of Biggs killer whales we had seen a couple of hours earlier, swimming fast towards Horseshoe Bay. We took a few pictures, then spotted them again further out – and gone they were.
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Needless to say that we did not see a single harbour porpoise that day; smart as they are, they probably knew what was happening. They keep a low profile for reason. But it made for a day we will probably not forget for some time to come.
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-Marcus

 

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