A54’s new calf
It was a fantastic day of viewing cetaceans and an exciting one at that. Even before leaving the dock at Alder Bay this morning we enjoyed some precious moments while observing a mother river otter and her four
small kits, grouped together they were amongst the kelp covered rocks and then down at the waters edge where they disappeared from our sight into the water. Leaving the dock our mainsail was hoisted and with
the NW wind at our back we motor-sailed in through Pearse Passage making our way towards Donegal Head, passing several bald eagles fishing herring along the way and sighting a minke whale en route. The blows of humpback whales were sighted near Stubbs Island and beyond but it was the orcas who beckoned us further west. The A30’s had been reported east of the Penfold Islets resting but as we approached we
could see that they had begun making their way slowly back to the east against the ebbing current. It was so exciting for us seeing them again, having arrived yesterday, it was their second day into the area. They were the A30 matriarch travelling in two small groups A50 and A54 (two sisters) and their calves with their two brothers A38 and A39. As we observed, we did not see A30 the matriarch but we did see a new jaundiced calf among them and Jared later confirmed that A30 was not with them and that A54 had a new calf. It is a sad day for us to learn the news of A30’s passing as we have always enjoyed her presence in Johnstone Strait each summer and can well remember our early days on the water when, A30 herself, with three sons (including A6 her eldest who died several years ago possibly in 1999) and two young daughters, she used Johnstone Strait so often, foraging intensely for salmon, especially along the Hanson Island shoreline. A54’s new calf is welcomed news in the bittersweet of A30’s passing. It was a treat to see the family, and while the wind was relatively strong it also made it possible for us to sail and with the engine off, and moving quietly along we could also listen to their A-Clan calls when they began vocalizing off Bold Head where they foraged briefly before making their way down through Blackfish Sound on the (then) flooding current. It was very special during our viewing and cute observing the new calf spy-hop and attempt to breach (with half breach’s) and tail slap repeatedly. While watching the orcas in the Queen Charlotte Strait, it was quite remarkable to also see blows of at least three humpback whales in the near vicinity. An absolutely amazing day with sightings that also included: dall’s porpoises, rhinoceros auklets, belted kingfishers, black oyster catchers and harbour seals.