Words cannot describe the amazing day that we were all (passengers and crew alike) privileged to witness today while out on tour on our last 8 hour tour of the season. The sightings were breathtaking and marvelous from the very first orca sighting until the very last, stupendous in every way, including the wonderful calls heard via the hydrophone! With reports of orcas heading east from Donegal Head and west from the east end of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, we headed in the direction of the Sophia Islands and were not disappointed. Orcas could be seen traveling west towards us all spread out across Johnstone Strait in their various family groups. The orcas that we sighted from a distance traveling rapidly west were the I15’s and behind them the A23’s and A25’s. A37 was sighted and later A12 with A46 close by; the A34’s and A24’s were more towards the VI shoreline. Our most intimate viewing was with the A25’s who stopped to forage frequently and to also rest, A61 was foraging a distance apart from his sister A51 and her calves but parallel and after crossing Blackney Passage was seen to join up with them and they continued traveling west until A12 the oldest Matriline of all the pods in the Strait today at 69 years of age, suddenly made the turn at 12:02 p.m. and so began the eastward journey back down the Strait for all of the orcas mentioned. The pods who had reached the top end of the Strait crossed over towards Blinkhorn on the the VI shore and proceeded to make their way steadily east. We headed into Blackfish Sound and were lucky to sight a Humpback Whale feeding mid-Strait at Burnt Point, it was identified as ‘Freckles’ and as we drifted in the current enjoying our viewing we were also excited to learn that more orcas were approaching from the west headed in our direction. As the A30’s came into view, they were traveling in two groups, A30 the Matriline was in the first group with her son A39 and her youngest daughter A54 and her three calves while behind them a short distance following was her oldest surviving son A38 traveling with his oldest sister A50 and her calves. It was a magical moment to watch as this wonderful family made their way towards Johnstone Strait in the ebb current. It was our first viewing of the A30’s this summer and an emotional yet joyful entrance for the crew to witness. It only seems like yesterday since the days when the A30’s were the ‘hosts’ of Johnstone Strait and were sighted being there on most days, a time when A50 and A54 were young calves themselves. The A30’s on reaching Johnstone Strait turned to the west, traveling to met those orcas coming back down and it was at this time that we ourselves left the area to explore amongst the Plumper Islands. Our sightings today included: Nearly 50 Northern Resident Orcas! A Humpback Whale, Stellar Sea Lions, Dalls’ Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Turnstones, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers, A Fork-tailed Storm Petrel, Bald Eagles and one eaglet in its nest, Mew and Herring Gulls.

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