Island Day 4 & 5: Victoria

With the road trip over, we headed back to Victoria for a couple days.

The main highlight of Victoria for me was that we went whale watching!!

We’d been warned that, like any wildlife watching tour, they couldn’t guarantee that we’d see whales. We headed out that morning anyway with high hopes:

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The weather was unseasonably beautiful once again. We were lucky our whole trip – it didn’t rain a single day, even though it was British Columbia, known for rain, and it was fall. It should have been drizzling and cold. Instead, we had beautiful, warm, sunny weather out on the ocean.

Our first whale was spotted within thirty minutes. Hurrah!

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I was thrilled, thinking that was all we were going to get. I had never seen a whale before so I was happy to just see one.

It got even better.

Two more whales appeared in the distance:

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And then three more whales appeared, and then two more…

For a grand total of EIGHT whales!

They were all humpback whales, and the biologist on board confirmed that they were different (and that we weren’t just seeing the same whales over and over). Apparently the whales all have different colour variations and barnacles on their tails, which is how scientists tell them apart.

At one point we were waiting for one whale and her calf to reappear after diving some distance away. The captain killed the engine while we waited, everyone scanning the waters far away – and then they reappeared super close to the boat!

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We got some amazing pictures here. They’re so amazingly graceful for such large creatures:

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When we’d finally seen all the whales we could handle, the boat took us to Race Rock Ecological Preserve, home to many sea lions and seals.

Stellar Sea Lions & California Sea Lions, sharing a rock: DSC_0886.jpg

Also home to a singular, bachelor otter. They call him Harry Otter. Here he is happily floating around in a bed of kelp:

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Bald eagle on a perch by the lighthouse, looking highly majestic:

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Researchers come out and live on this island. They have to take a boat in; however, the sea lions have somewhat taken over their dock. When a boat is coming to drop off new people, the current researchers have to go out and chase away the sea lions with wheelbarrows.

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They were all napping quite happily:

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And then, suddenly, a kerfuffle! It was very loud as they were all barking at each other:

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The peace settled again within a couple minutes.

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With a final tally of eight humpback whales, a multitude of sea lions, several harbour seals, many birds, and one sea otter, it was a pretty stellar excursion.

Heading back to the mainland. Washington’s Olympic Mountains and Race Rock in the background:

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