Pacific white-sided dolphins are only one of the many mammals often viewed on the whale watching day. Dolphins tend to travel in pods of several hundred the largest pod I have come across was between fifteen hundred and two thousand. This was in the late fall and they appeared to be heading out of the area. The pods we encounter in the summer are playful and come to our boats out of curiosity. In this case we were stationary as the dolphins were following another of our boats. At other times they will pass beneath our bow while we move along side a large pod.
The last 3 years we have been starting to view sea otters in our area more regularly. They are still often a distance away, but the sightings are increasing with some “rafts” of them developing in areas near the western portion of our whale watching trips. These animals were hunted heavily for their fur and were completely wiped out of British Columbia waters. Re-introduction occurred from Alaskan otters in the 1960’s. They have long been protected and their numbers have been steadily increasing along the exposed BC coast and are now moving back into inside waters. They are unique in that they don’t have the insulating blubber that other marine mammals use to keep warm. As a result they have dense (over 1 million hairs per square inch) fur and feed heavily. They are important in balancing the eco-system. They eat a lot of sea urchins, which eat a lot of kelp. Kelp is extremely important as it provides cover for juvenile fish and is where the herring spawn in the early spring. With the increase in these otters we are seeing a greater abundance and healthier kelp forests.Visit our Blog