A pod of transient killer whales was spotted on the move near Sooke earlier this week.
Paul Pudwell, owner of Sooke Whale Watching, said he spotted the whales on June 10, five minutes from his docks at Salty Towers, which could be seen from Whiffin Spit.
“We know of about 380 plus transient whales that circle the Island, but could be anywhere at any time,” said Pudwell. “They will travel upwards of 50 miles a day.”
The difference can be seen between the transient killer whales and our resident orcas by the differences in their dorsal fins and saddle patches, Pudwell noted. The transient pods can be seen any time of year, while the resident whales are more consistently spotted in April through November.
Pudwell also spotted a Minke whale during his time on the water, which he said is a rare sight for this area.
“Minke are known to be off banks with a lot of bait, and the Juan de Fuca is not that type of structure, but sometimes they will come through to get to different feeding areas,” said Pudwell. “I have only seen three in 10 years.”
Pudwell has only had a chance to get out on the water three times this year for whale watching tours, due to the pandemic. He expects this year to be a difficult season, as 80 per cent of his business comes from tourists from abroad.
“We are just starting to open up now, and get back out on the water for summer,” said Pudwell. “The whales are out there, we just haven’t been out much.”