As we headed out on tour, passengers and crew alike could not imagine the remarkable orca viewing that lay ahead. Nearing the Sophia Islands we could see orca fins and blows stretched before us across Johnstone Strait, heading west in our direction. It was very exciting to see them speeding by and that was literally what they were doing. Because they were traveling at such a rapid rate and being so spread out, the mothers and their calves close along the Vancouver Island shoreline, it was very difficult to identify the individual orcas and their pods. The orcas that were in the Strait most of the day and this afternoon were the A30’s, A24’s, and the A5’s. The orcas that we were closer to and better able to identify were the A30’s who were also spread out (A54 and her calves and A38), the A25’s and also the A24’s including A73 with her open saddle patch. Stopping at times to deploy the hydrophone, it was wonderful listening to their beautiful A-Clan calls as well, ecolocations as some orcas foraged nearby. Breaching, spyhopping, foraging, pectoral slapping and resting behaviour was observed. Heading back home care was taken to steer clear of numerous orcas who were still heading west behind those who had slowed down and were foraging off the Bauza Islets. It was indeed a very remarkable day for viewing orcas in Johnstone Strait.

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