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  • Mon. April 10 - Whales make spring appearances in Island waters

Mon. April 10 - Whales make spring appearances in Island waters

Plus: Your egg-hunting memories. Langford RapidBus debuts. Arrest for alleged murder.

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Good morning !

Thank you for sharing your stories of finding (and failing to find) Easter eggs. We collected a few memorable ones to pass along today.

Another thing people around the Island look forward to spotting in the spring: Whales out on the water. More below on the ones in the region this month.

Cam Welch

Chainsaw (right) and other Bigg’s killer whales last week. 📸 Sara Hysong-Shimazu, Maya’s Legacy, via PWWA


Spring at sea brings whales to local waters

It’s what the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) calls a “telltale sign of spring”: The appearance in the Salish Sea of T063 a.k.a. Chainsaw, a popular Bigg’s killer whale who typically makes very brief springtime appearances. Chainsaw, known for his namesake jagged fin, was seen Tuesday between the Gulf Islands and San Juans, passing close by a BC Ferries vessel. This latest Bigg’s whale arrival featured not only that cameo from the 45-year-old Chainsaw but also the apparent debut of a seventh calf for prolific mother Raksha (T046B).

There are about 400 Bigg’s orcas living in the region, per PWWA, but their diet of seals and sea lions distinguishes them from the salmon-eating endangered Southern Resident killer whales and the two populations don’t interbreed. That’s part of the problem for the Southern Residents: Not only is their food supply less plentiful, but a recent study indicates that the limited mating pool is worsening things.

Inbreeding hurting Southern Resident population, study finds

The fairly rapid (i.e. over a few decades) drop in population, to 73 whales, is leading to offspring of two parents with the same deleterious mutations. This typically doesn’t kill the whale outright but makes it harder to survive all the other damaging factors such as salmon decline and human disruption. These shorter lifespans then lead to females having fewer total calves than non-inbred peers (1.6 vs. 2.6), worsening the population crunch.

Grey whales migrating past the Island

They’re about to be passing by on the longest seasonal migration by any mammal. Their April-June coastline journeys go from breeding lagoons in Baja California and Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in northern Alaska. The 11-to-14-metre Eastern Pacific grey whales are a miraculous sight, and their story is even more miraculous: Rebounding from near-extinction due to commercial whaling twice in the last 200 years.

But the whales, which have long been of deep significance to the Nuu-chah-nulth and Makah, still face threats from consuming plastic and other pollutants, a climate-change-related dwindling of their food supply, orcas that pick off about a third of travelling calves, and entanglement in fishing gear.

Read (or listen to) more at Capital Daily on grey whales’ migration, their history in Island waters, and the threats they have faced.

Capital Bulletin

☁️ Cloudy today with 30% chance of day showers and rain periods at night. High 9C / low 4C.

🌦️ Mostly cloudy this week with both sun and rain making appearances

⛴️ Sunday sailings cancelled: Four midday Swartz Bay - Tsawwassen sailings in each direction, along with trips on several smaller routes, were cancelled amid high winds during one of the year’s busiest weekends.

These very visible eggs were supposed to be easy to find but proved easy to forget. 📸 Deborah McComb


Your egg-hunting memories

Some of the most memorable egg-hunting stories you sent in served as reminders that wild animals seem to like digging into a shiny chocolate egg just as much as we do.

Easter at Christmas

“The chocolate-foil-wrapped eggs were hidden inside our house since we lived in Edmonton and often still had a lot of snow at Easter. My Mom had inherited a large oak dining table from her mother and it extended on some long telescoping rails. Sometimes eggs were hidden in the table and not discovered until Christmas when the dining table was extended to have more seating. There was always a flurry of excitement when a few eggs dropped out from underneath the table!” - Joanne Morin

Hidden (too well) in plain sight

“My son is special needs, so hiding eggs for him has to be pretty obvious. Last year the eggs were on the trunk in front of the plants, which is right next to where he sits. [Photo above] The eggs were still there in September! They actually were how we found out we had rats. 🐀” - Deborah McComb

This holiday is for the birds

In 2000 the family of Karen Alberts was renting a Lake Hill home, with field and forest around it, and invited relatives over for an elaborately planned and decorated Easter.

“[T]he ‘piece de resistance’ was those shiny balls all planted around the property with special smaller gifts amongst the load. Nieces and nephews joined their cousins as all eleven of them prepared to load up their baskets. Papa shouts, ‘Ready? One, two, and three—GO!’ as they all take off from different directions frantically trying to pass their cousins to the pursuit of chocolate.

Hours of preparation going to the stores to get ‘good’ chocolate so we all could enjoy. Only to find that he crows had removed all the foil from the chocolates (for their nests?) and left the chocolate behind. Let’s just say the smaller gifts were found. So my lesson learned is: Don’t put chocolate shiny eggs out hours before the hunt.” - Karen Alberts

Responses lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

The stops the 95 has kept (blue) and cut (grey, red) from the 50 route. 📸 BC Transit


Langford-Victoria express launches today, dropping 10 stops from 50 route

Now named the Line 95 Blink RapidBus, the orange-branded route will run every 7-8 minutes at peak. BC Transit is calling it the region’s first RapidBus and plans to next add lines from Uptown to UVic and make the downtown to Swartz Bay express a RapidBus.

The bus stops cut from the 95 route are in the Langford core and on Douglas; most are just a block or two from other stops, but the Burnside/Summit and Bay removals will likely be the most noticeable. BC Transit said it was judicious with these cuts, keeping an average of 600m between stops rather than the 800m+ standard.

The 61 Sooke, which the 50 sometimes became, will now be its own Sooke-Langford route and run more often. BC Transit is also running a contest around the new route with a bike, FitBits, and other prizes. [More info on the route at BC Transit]

📸 Ballet Edmonton by Nanc Price



Ballet Edmonton: Music in Motion

The exquisite artists of Ballet Edmonton set music in motion with an eclectic evening featuring dance set to Max Richter’s treatment of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, a presentation of Ravel’s fond tribute to children’s fairy tales with his Mother Goose suite, and a new choreographic commission of Ian Cusson’s instrumental telling of the legend Le loup de Lafontaine.

Ballet Edmonton: Music in Motion, co-produced by Dance Victoria and Victoria Symphony. Choreography by Wen Wei Wang and conducted by Giuseppe Pietraroia.

Vivaldi/Recomposed by Max Richter, The Four Seasons Recomposed | RAVEL Ma mère l'oye suite | Ian Cusson Le loup de Lafontaine - Suite for orchestra in three scenes

April 23 at 2:30 pm | April 24 at 7:30 pm | Royal Theatre

Tickets from $29 at DanceVictoria.com.

Capital Picks

🖼️ Final week for Wildlife Photographer of the Year: The RBCM hosts the collection of animal and landscape photos, visiting from London’s Natural History Museum, until April 16.

⚕️ Don't let a diabetes diagnosis weigh you down. Join Evolve Medical for a transformative journey towards better health.*

🎭 Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Royal: This quirky comedy presented by Pacific Opera Victoria follows two up-to-no-good men and the women who teach them a lesson. Community preview today.

🌊 The Rise on Fifth: Ocean view condos are now selling in Sidney. Learn more about this boutique collection of 1-, 2-, and 3- bedroom homes.*

😊 Now hiring: Sales and Marketing Associate at DEVINE Distillery. 

*Sponsored Listing

In Other News

🚨 Man re-arrested as victim’s death in hospital upgrades alleged assault to alleged murder

The senior seriously harmed a month ago at a residence on Fairfield’s Chester Avenue died in hospital in mid-March. Victoria police announced Wednesday that with the death they have again arrested suspect Michael King, who was originally arrested for aggravated assault after he brought himself in to a police department following the incident. That March 6 incident also led to a building evacuation and HAZMAT response after police responding to the assault call found materials they believed could be toxic; the materials were later determined to not be a risk.

🏒 Langford being sued by woman who says she was struck by puck at arena in 2014

Her 2016-launched civil claim against the city and operator alleges that the puck hit her in the eye through a hole in the netting while she watched roller hockey at Eagle Ridge Arena. Operator Performance Plus Hockey’s 2016 response contends that she was not hit by the puck, and that if she was it was due to her own negligence. [Times Colonist]

In Case You Missed It

🏗️ 1,500+ rentals approved for Harris Green: The three-phase redevelopment on Yates has the go-ahead from Victoria council after the developer agreed to some of the environmental changes requested, such as electric power and 100 bus tickets for residents without cars.

Also in yesterday’s newsletter: Your weekly History Mystery, and an update on the man shot by police in Duncan while driving a construction vehicle.

🥑 This is the place: The Root Cellar at Oxford Corner in Cook Street Village—your innovative destination market for fresh locally grown produce and extraordinary food experiences. Learn more at TheRootCellar.ca.*

🐶🐰 Dogs in bunny ears: ​​Exactly what it sounds like—a Saanichton dog walker gets the hounds all dressed up every Easter. [CHEK]

*Sponsored Listing

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