Today’s encounter with marine life was exquisite! Orcas were heading rapidly to the west in the Queen Charlotte Strait this morning on the ebb current, they were the A30 matriline. When we caught up to them they were well spread out, A50 and A54 and their calves were in a group swimming together while A39 and A38 were foraging apart, a distance away and we did not see A30 until much later in the tour, as well, en route to seeing the orcas we passed two humpback whales making their way towards Blackfish Sound. The orcas began to slow and we deployed our hydrophone and were excited when we heard, not A-Clan calls that we expected from the A30’s, but G-Clan calls, calls we thought belonging to the I15 matriline but as far as we scanned with our binoculars we could not see the incoming orcas! The A30’s appeared to be lingering as if waiting for other orcas to join them and finally we could see more orcas taking long dives traveling very close along the Malcolm Island shoreline, midway between Lizard Point and Donegal Head. Everywhere we looked we could see orcas, humpback whales and pacific white-sided dolphins as well several stellar sea lions. We observed as A50 and A54 and their calves swam west to meet up with some of the incoming orcas and then suddenly after a long dive all of the orcas: A30’s, I15’s and I31’s were off Donegal Head, the I31’s making their way towards Stubbs Island and Weynton Passage with dolphins among them, the A30’s with the I15’s moved more slowly and seemed to rest awhile in a back eddy before committing to travel in the flood current in through Weynton Passage. As we drifted in the current it was phenomenal listening to a mixture of A and G-Clan calls and watching as the orcas passed on by. Meanwhile another pod of orcas, were reported traveling in through Blackfish Sound from Bold Head and these were later identified as the A34’s. Even as we watched the orcas traveling away from us humpback whales could still be seen, two of them also in Weynton Passage heading into Johnstone Strait, a third one was sighted near to Stubbs Island and then finally a fourth one we sighted in Pearse Passage on our way home. It was a truly memorable and magical day on the water! Other sightings included: stellar sea lions, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, herring, glaucous-winged and california gulls, common murres, red-necked phalaropes, belted kingfishers, pelagic cormorants, bald eagles and their newly fledged eaglets.

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