Northern Resident Orcas: A23’s, A25’s & three Humpback Whales ~

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It was another fabulous day of viewing Northern Resident Orcas and Humpback Whales on the North Island. While we were underway and shortly after leaving Alder Bay this morning it was reported that Orcas were off the Wastell Islets travelling back to the east and it was not long before we sighted our first two Orca’s, a third of the distance across Johnstone Strait and closest to the Vancouver Island side of the Strait. Near the Vancouver Island side three more orcas were sighted as well and these we identified as the A43’s ( A43, her daughter A69, and A69’s calf, A95). We all enjoyed watching as they foraged while moving east, close to the shoreline with A43 in the lead, we observed some resting behaviour and heard some resting calls and echolocation via our hydrophone.  Across on the Hanson Island shoreline a single orca was seen that we believed to be A60, the brother of A43. Moving away from the A43’s  we went closer to observe the first two orcas we had seen, they were the A25’s (A61 & A85). Today for the first time we noticed an injury on the leading edge of A61’s dorsal fin, on the right side. Talking to Jared (DFO), he said he had noticed it two weeks ago and that it was a new injury for this year. We enjoyed seeing the two orcas side by side at times, separating briefly, they would join and travel together companionably and this is how we left them still eastbound in the Strait. Moving over to the Hanson Island side of Johnstone Strait we observed A60 as he foraged, travelling east he looked magnificent today while foraging intensely, lunging at times through the water after his prey of spring salmon.  Arriving into Blackfish Sound it was only moments before we sighted our first Humpback Whale, followed by two more who were suddenly seen surfacing together nearby, it is possible that one turned back as we sighted yet another, bringing our Humpback Whale count to three or possibly four today. We had fantastic viewing of these whales, especially the last whale we encountered where we could see the whale’s pectoral fin momentarily, passing under the water as it went by the boat! Also seen today: Several small groups of Dall’s Porpoises throughout the tour, Harbour Seals+++, Black Oyster Catchers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons and Glaucous-winged, Mew, California and Herring Gulls.

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