Shortly after departing from Alder Bay this morning a friend called to report that a humpback whale was nearby and foraging close along the Pearse Islands in Johnstone Strait. That sighting was the beginning of what was to become an amazing day of viewing with so many cetaceans being in close proximity of the top end of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. It was a day of close encounters with sights and sounds of numerous orca blows and also of humpback whales, an incredible viewing, acoustically wonderful and so good to simply sit back and observe beauty as it unfolded around us, moment by precious moment; especially when we were under sail in the light SE wind that was blowing at the time and while trailing our hydrophone when sailing quietly along, listening to both A & G-Clan vocalizations! When we arrived at Blackney Passage, the A30 matriline had already made their way into Blackfish Sound while other orcas (I15’s) were milling around the entrance to the Sound, making their way slowly against the flooding current, some taking the back eddie route along “the wall” and eventually along the Swanson Island shoreline, others continued into the Sound mid-way (A8’s and I15’s), very slowly, they were well spread out. The orcas we observed were taking long dives and we soon realized the reason why when numerous pacific white-sided dolphins were observed foraging amongst them and mobbing them when they came to the surface to breathe. As we ourselves left Blackney Passage, looking back into Johnstone Strait two large dorsal fins could still be seen travelling slowly east, they were later reported as being the A36 brothers (A37 & A46) who had arrived in the area overnight. The A30’s had stopped to forage midway in Blackfish Sound ahead of the other orcas and we observed as they foraged back and forth, observing while the A8’s and some of the I15’s caught them up, the viewing was fantastic and made all the more special because of the silence that surrounded all of us. With no boat noise or traffic, blow by blow the orcas could be heard, the sound of which punctuated the silence, it is hard to explain but was utterly profound to our listening ears. Leaving the orcas behind we made our way into Weynton Passage and while partaking of our Devonshire teas, all on board enjoyed the brilliance of five humpback whales foraging steadily, working the area, they circled back and forth. The lighting was superb and the humpback whales filled any gaps still needing to be filled in our fabulous day of viewing. What more could we ask for? Yet still, a single whale, continuing on further to the west, making its way towards the Pearse Island shoreline from Weynton Passage, the lasting image of a humpback whale; arriving back at our starting point this morning, just as we had begun with our first sighting of the day. Other sightings included: stellar sea lions, dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes, california, mew & glaucous-winged gulls, bald eagles, great blue herons & belted kingfishers.

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