It was a beautiful day for the 360 annual kayak race around Cormorant Island and also for whale watching with large patches of blue sky appearing as we headed out this morning and sunshine following. With a hydro/internet outage in Alert Bay this morning we had no record of the orcas movement overnight and so it was a surprise to see the orcas approaching quickly from the east along the Hanson Island shoreline as we neared Weynton Island and with our engine off and hydrophone deployed it was a joy to listen to their A-Clan calls clearly audible in the still calmness of the morning. While we were viewing the orcas, a large group of pacific white-sided dolphins traveling at a rapid rate came into view from the east and made their way towards Weynton Passage, they were also seen mobbing the orcas on their way through. A large male orca went by us who we believe was A37 and a female who we thought to be A12 and soon after several more females and their calves also went by and another large male was sighted passing through Weynton Passage as we drifted in the current. With the dolphins racing a group of orcas surfaced and taking their time they made their way slowly through one of the island passages of the Plumper Islands called Lulu Island passage, at this time we were able to positively identify the pod as the A34’s, with A34’s mother A12 traveling well ahead with the A36 brothers, A37 and A46. The lighting was beautiful as we passed out into Blackfish Sound and observed as the A34’s who had begun heading east in Blackfish Sound slowly drifted out into the Queen Charlotte Strait following A12 and the A36 boys. It was astonishing to then see before us the unmistakable dorsal fin of a humpback whale and to enjoy viewing in close proximity both the humpback whale (Freckles) and the orcas. We were viewing a bald eagle nest with two large Eaglets, both of whom were exercising their wings under the watchful eyes of their parents when more orcas were reported passing into the same Lulu Island Passage as the A34’s had done so an hour earlier. These orcas, the A23’s and A24’s slowly made their way through the narrow passage passing close in amongst kelp forests and then began making their way east down through Blackfish Sound. It was an amazing and busy day for cetaceans as numerous groups of dalls porpoises had also been sighted throughout the tour, one group of 10+ we observed feeding intensely in a small bay. Other sightings included: stellar sea lions, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, herring, california and mew gulls, red-necked phalaropes,marbled murrelets, and bald eagles.

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