Incredible video captures transient killer whales breaching near San Juan Island.

Incredible video captures transient killer whales breaching near San Juan Island.

WATCH: A group of whale watchers capture an incredible, and unusual, display from a group of transient killer whales near San Juan Island. April Lawrence reports.

It starts out as a fairly typical killer whale encounter but then an unusual aerial display wows onlookers.

Naturalist Traci Walter, with Western Prince Whale Watching, captured the rare moment of orca’s hunting on video.

She says the transient mom was teaching her son and daughter how to hunt a stellar sea lion.

“Chances are good she was trying to ram it at high speed, and just kind of went flying through the air in the process of doing it,” Walter said. 

“I’ve been out here a decade watching these whales, and I can count on my hands how many times I’ve seen incredible aerial displays like this.” .

What isn’t unusual, is seeing transients hunting in our waters right now.

“It’s been incredible, I think we’re close to 200, [maybe] 170 different individuals,” Mark Malleson, lead skipper with Prince of Whales in Victoria, said. 

Experts say there is a massive amount of prey in our waters and the transients are taking notice.

“The transient killer whale population has been increasing at about six per cent a year, so there’s just so much food,” Malleson said. 

But Malleson says they’re still waiting to see how the endangered resident population is doing ? they’re expected to return any day.

“We’ll do roll call on them, see how they’re doing, see how they look but J Pod is looking pretty good from what I’ve been told,” he said.

As for those hunting and breaching transients captured on video, Walter says their hunt went on for about 15 minutes, and then, for some reason, the whales let the sea lion live and simply swam away.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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