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Guaranteed Whale Watch Tours from 5 Departure Locations

Watching transients is National Geographic unplugged.

Transient orcas are becoming a more common sight in our waters due to an increase in their prey – harbor seals, California and Steller sea lion and harbor porpoise. These stealthy hunters work cooperatively in their family pod to take down their prey. Watching transient orcas hunt is very exciting, especially seeing this top predator intricately coordinate an attack.

Echolocation

Orcas (both resident and transient) utilize echolocation, which is similar to sonar used in bat species, for “seeing” under the water.  “Sound Pictures” are formed when the nasal passage of the orca produces a high-frequency, extremely fast series of clicks that are projected out from the melon and sent out into their environment.  The sound vibrations that bounce back from objects are returned to the lower jaw  which is then directed to the inner ear where an acoustical image is created.  Orcas are able to perceived distance, speed, shape, texture and composition from these images which help them navigate and search for prey.  It is so finite that they’re able to detect fishing line from 100 m away!

Photo I.D.

The early 1970s, Dr.Michael Bigg, a scientist with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, began studying the orcas of the region, mainly to determine the population and its dynamics in light of orcas being captured for captivity.  He developed a technique using photographs to ID individual whales.  Currently, the Center for whale research conducts an annual census of the southern resident orcas.  Located just behind the dorsal fin on each side of the whale is a white pigmented area called a saddle patch.  The saddle patch is like a fingerprint.  Unique encroachments of black and sometime scars within the patch make each one distinctive.  Characteristics of the dorsal fin itself – such as scars, nicks and overall shape – are also helpful in identifying individual whales.

Common behaviors

Each day and every experience is completely unique and unpredictable!  The beauty of seeing these magnificent orcas in the wild is that they are doing what they want and what they need to be doing in order to survive.  These are just a few of the many behaviors that orcas do throughout their day.

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Learn more about the area’s wildlife and scenery.

The waters surrounding our five departure locations offer some of the most diverse whale and wildlife viewing on the west coast.  Onboard each of our tours, an experienced naturalist helps identify all of the whales, wildlife, and 
rich history that this area holds

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Great Deals in 2017!

Adults save up to $30 off any tour by booking over 30 days in advance or by joining us May 30th-September 4th. There are discounts for AAA, AARP, seniors 65+, military, or students with an ID.  Midweek deals can be found March-June and September-November.  Click below for more information on how to save big in 2017!

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