What a way to start the season! It as my first time out on the boat this year and we were on our way to look for some of the humpbacks that have been around lately when we heard that multiple pods of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales had been seen just south of Nanaimo.
When we caught up to them I was taken aback because there were more T’s than I’ve ever seen in one place. There were at least three distinct pods, each with 4-6 whales, spread out in the area with individuals from each pod clustered in tight groups as they traveled south. My Bigg’s IDs need some work but even I could tell that these weren’t groups we see around often. We tagged along with one pod for about an hour and I could see what looked like a 0-1 year old calf with our group. It would porpoise for a little bit and then lag behind the group to catch it’s breath! After about 45 mins all of the groups started to spread out and rest in groups of 2-3.
As it turns out this was a VERY exciting day because when I confirmed with another captain he said that he’d been able to ID T121A hanging out with the T23s (including the new baby T23D4!!!). T121A is a rarity in our waters and is a female who’s usually seen on her own.