Two orca pods were spotted in both Sooke harbour and basin Wednesday in one of the largest displays of whale activity in recent memory.
T69 and T109, part of the transient killer whale population, were seen moving slowly in local waters from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with the whales swimming in close social groups, said Paul Pudwell, owner of Sooke Whale Watching.
In all, up to eight killer whales were seen.
“I’ve never known them to be in any inner harbour area, but it’s definitely the first time for Sooke,” Pudwell said. “It’s probably the biggest (group) I’ve seen. That’s a good number of whales in our harbour, for sure.”
The whales were in the area for more than 90 minutes.
Pudwell believes the whales were hunting and eating seals.
“There was some quick change movement and surges. You could tell they were chasing something,” he said.
Meanwhile, humpback whales are making a significant comeback in the waters around Vancouver Island and northern Washington state, according to researchers at the Pacific Whale Watch Association.
Calling it a “humpback comeback,” researchers at the agency said the number of humpbacks in the Salish Sea has increased exponentially since a single whale was spotted in the region over 20 years ago.
Earlier this week, Pudwell spotted a humpback whale in Becher Bay.
– with files from Black Press