A 15-year-old transient orca whale was spotted in the Inner Harbour around 10 a.m. Friday morning (File contributed/ Jackie Cowan, Earth Ocean Adventures)

Orca spotted in Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Shortly after 10 a.m. a transient whale was seen coming through the waterway

Traffic came to a standstill Friday morning in Victoria’s Inner Harbour when an orca was spotted in the waterway.

Capt. Jackie Cowan, owner of local whale watching and marine adventure company, Ocean Earth Adventures, was on her ship in the Wharf Street marina when her friend spotted the whale, prompting her to grab her camera and get a couple shots.

“He came in along the shoreline by Laurel Point, then headed towards the causeway before turning around and going the way he came,” she said.

ALSO READ: Three southern resident killer whales declared dead plunging population to 73

The whale has been identified by two experts as TO65A2, a transient orca male born in 2004. TO65A2 is also known as Ooxjaa, which means “windy” in the Tlingit language.

Marty Goliath, a local whale watching captain said he’d seen the whale recently in Cowichan Bay.

Cowan said she had a suspicion she’d see whales in the harbour soon, after seeing especially low tides. Around the same time last year a pod of orcas was spotted in the Inner Harbour when waters were also low, she said.

VIDEO: Rare orca sighting at Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Josh McInnes, a marine mammal scientist and research coordinator with the Transient Killer Whale Project by Marine Life Studies, said the visit probably has more to do with the season than the water levels.

“All of the harbour seals, which are transient whales’ main prey, are having their pups right now so we usually see a huge spike in transient sightings,” McInnes said. “It’s not uncommon to see, there’s been a few occurrences of transients coming into the Inner Harbour.”

McInnes said that once the transient whale has hunted in an area it heads elsewhere pretty quickly.

“Transients are real roamers, being a top predator they don’t stay in one area too long because harbour seals will know they’re in the area,” McInnes said.

Transient orcas can travel more than 100 km in a day, and spend up to 90 per cent of their time foraging and traveling.

TO65A2 is the second calf of matriarch TO65, who has given birth to six surviving orcas.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Killer WhalesOrca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Saanich floats tougher policies for buoys and moorings near Tsehum Harbour

Municipality also considers additional collaboration with Sidney and other communities

Westin Bear Mountain invests $2 million to renovate newly-named spa

‘Amatista Spa’ has yet to announce official opening date

Dozens brave cold for third annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Organizers have raised more than $40,000 as of Feb. 16

HarbourCats team up with Bastion Books to bring back Harvey’s Reading Club

HarbourCats and Bastions Books offer students free game tickets in an effort to promote child literacy

Central Saanich newspaper carrier gets letter of thanks, chocolates from her community for note

Ava Verscheure started her first very job by introducing herself to residents along newspaper route

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

Most Read