When we set out this morning we had no idea what lay ahead of us for our tour. The morning started out with a report of orcas heading into Blackfish Sound and so we travelled in that direction passing hauled out Harbour Seals on the Stephenson Islands and Stellar Sea Lions off the Plumper Islands, some were hauled out while others were in the water swimming. It was just past this that we lost our visibility to heavy fog as we made our way towards Bold Head where orcas had been sighted. While we were en route the fluke of a Humpback Whale suddenly appeared off the bow, the whale we identified as KC, a whale that we have seen frequently this summer, one glimpse was enough to identify this easily recognizable fluke. Traveling on we were distracted by the sight and sound of two Humpback Whales breaching and tail-lobbing a distance away and soon we were in the vicinity of the orcas. After waiting patiently, orca fins suddenly surfaced ahead of us and there were many! Orcas could be seen spread out over a distance, they were moving slowly, some were foraging back and forth, all of them keeping to a northerly direction in the Queen Charlotte Strait. We identified three separate groupings. The A30 matriline: A39 was with A30, A38 was foraging off on his own, A5o and A54 were each with their three calves in two groups and A46 (from the A36’s) was foraging close by with the A30’s. The A23’s were a distance away while A12 and A37 (from the A36’s) were the furtherest out in the Queen Charlotte Strait. The fog had cleared to enable us to see all of this however it thickened again when we made our way back towards Bold Head looking for the Humpback Whales. It was reported that there were four of them traveling together and suddenly there they were! Words cannot truly describe our wonderfully exciting encounter and viewing and photographs cannot do justice to the vivid and majestic images that we were privileged to see, the viewing was superb! What more could we ask for! As the humpbacks went by us to the west the orcas were suddenly seen coming towards us, they had made their turn just before the tide turned back to flood, they were on the move making their way in the current towards Blackfish Sound. We watched as the A30’s/A46 and A23’s went by and making our way home via Donegal Head we could see two more orcas, they were A12 and A37, heading back in with the rest of the orcas. At Donegal Head we sighted a large flock of Sooty Shearwaters, the first that we have seen this fall and finally, near the Pearse Reefs another Humpback Whale was sighted bringing the count to 6 Humpback Whales & 19 orcas! Other sightings included: rhinoceros auklets, gulls, common murres, , surf scoters, red-necked phalaropes, double-crested cormorants and unidentified migrating birds flying high.
The diving sequence: seven images of the humpback whale and its fluke.
A37 & A12