It was an extraordinary day, one of contrast and colour, variable weather conditions and an abundance of cetacean and seabird activity. As we left the dock in Alder Bay this morning it was raining lightly, the sky was dark to the east and brightening to the west. We headed east and soon found ourselves enveloped in fog with poor visibility and it was at this point that the large fin of a male orca suddenly appeared nearby much to our astonishment and delight! It was soon established that numerous orcas were in the area, they were well spread out foraging from Lewis Point on Vancouver Island towards the Stephensen Islands in Weynton Passage. The orca we noticed had a small notch on the top of its dorsal fin and we were able to identify it as being I62 from the I33 matriline, another large male and two smaller orcas were sighted nearby, all of them were moving quickly towards Weynton Passage in the ebb current and were soon lost in the fog. Other orcas were seen to follow behind, the A36’s/A12 and the A34’s. The A34‘s stalled briefly in a back-eddy, some were seen to be resting briefly, some of the younger calves A83 & A91 were playful in their behaviour. There was a large gathering of Stellar Sea Lions hauled out, as well many swimming in the water as we carried on through Weynton Passage and suddenly we noticed that the fog had mostly cleared and the lighting across the water was remarkable, changing momentarily, it was beautiful looking out through the Queen Charlotte Strait towards the Coast Range Mountains that were partially visible with their peaks appearing high above the fog. The orcas continued to move quickly and far out into the Strait, but a mother and her two calves could be seen at a distance heading east at the top end of Blackfish Sound traveling close along the Plumper Islands towards Hanson Island. The sight of cetaceans and seabirds was phenomenal, as we watched we could count the blows of five Humpback Whales spread out over a wide area, four were in the vicinity of Bold Head and one was in Blackfish Sound. A large group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins arrived, they were on scene charging rapidly along, passing by some of the Humpback Whales and the orcas as well, while some could be seen mobbing the mother and two orca calves who were traveling east in Blackfish Sound. Sooty Shearwater birds were flying about and milling on the surface of the water, their unmistakable gliding wingbeat sequence was wonderful to watch. We lingered to watch more of the Humpback Whales as they surfaced and dived, and with a myriad of birds gathered we watched as herring balls formed before our eyes. Traveling back we passed again the hauled out Stellar Sea Lions and many more swimming in the water, as well, a Humpback Whale making its way into Weynton Passage. Other sightings included: Dalls porpoises, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, herring, california, mew and glaucous-winged gulls, belted kingfishers, red-necked phalaropes, surf scoters & bald eagles.

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