It was an amazing day for viewing cetaceans in the area. Beginning early in the tour we had several sightings of small groups of dall’s porpoises feeding nearby and when Bigg’s (Transient) orcas were reported to be travelling to the west in Johnstone Strait we headed in that direction via Blackfish Sound where we encountered a humpback whale feeding in Blackney Passage along with a large flock of rhinoceros auklets who were also feeding. As we entered Johnstone Strait a small group of pacific white-sided dolphins were sighted, they appeared nervous and were grouped close together and behind them orcas could be seen moving slowly in a relaxed fashion towards them. We observed as the group of 5 orcas appeared to split into two groups and then suddenly an orca was airbourne and hunting had begun at a fierce pace. We observed movement from above and below the water as the orcas hunted their prey and the speed and tremendous power of the orcas was evident. It was a successful hunt and after they had eaten, with our hydrophone deployed, it was remarkable listening to their vocalizations as it is not often that we get to listen to transient orcas vocalize and it has always been following a successful hunt. We observed some milling around and resting activity before they began making headway through Blackfish Sound on the ebb current. The humpback whale could be seen in the far distance along the Swanson Island shore and we travelled as well in Blackfish Sound. Meanwhile resident orcas had also been reported “inbound,” east of Lizard Point earlier in the day and we were fortunate on our way home to encounter a group passing east of Donegal Head. Other sightings included: a stellar sea lion, harbour seals, dalls porpoises, rhinoceros and cassin’s auklets and bald eagles.

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