SAIL WITH THE WHALES – WILDLIFE UPDATE July 21, 2011
Today’s tour was one of magic, beauty and sunshine. An action packed day with numerous sightings of cetaceans it was hard to believe that what we were seeing was real, it was so good and so special. Early in the tour a minke whale was sighted in Weynton Passage and then two majestic stellar sea lions hauled out, they were regal in their stance and easy to photograph. A humpback whale could be seen nearby making for some exciting viewing when a report came in that orcas had been sighted a distance ahead of us on the north side of Malcolm Island. As we neared Lizard Point their dorsal fins were easily visible on the surface of the calm blue water, two groups in resting lines, moving very slowly to the west. At the same time another humpback whale was sighted near to Foster Island crossing over towards Lizard Point as well, and our passengers were thrilled to observe it breaching at one point. The resident orcas, the A30’s and B’s were wonderful to watch in their separate family groups; the B’s were slightly ahead of the A30’s who were close behind them and one male orca could be seen foraging alone in the distance, this turned out to be A39. The orcas were silent, no vocals were heard during the time that we were with them. It was so good seeing A50’s new calf and the interaction exchanged between the younger calves, some spy-hopping behaviour was observed. The orcas continued to rest, the A30’s turned back east briefly and then began moving north and the B’s followed. The collapsed dorsal fin of B13 was clearly visible as was the crinkly one of his brother B10. The humpback whale caught up to the orcas and could be heard trumpeting as it continued off to the west, we identified this one as ‘Lefty’. At the time of our viewing we were joined by a small group of pacific white-sided dolphins who stayed nearby, some rode at the bow of the boat keeping just below the surface of the water, ever so gently they swam as boat was barely moving. With hardly a breathe of wind, calm seas, blue sky and sunshine we could not ask for any more. It was a truly remarkable day. Other sightings included: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, white-winged scoters and bald eagles.