Breaching Orcas and Humpback Whales ~ a wonderful day!

IMG_6852 IMG_6865 IMG_6873 IMG_6876 IMG_6903 IMG_6906 IMG_6919 IMG_6925 IMG_6952 What a great day we had viewing Orcas and Humpback Whales and ever changing weather conditions, unbelievable! We headed out this morning with fog heavy around us and a sun that was high and burning through the curtain of white. As the fog began subsiding, Johnstone Strait started clearing from the centre outwards so that on the edges of each side of the Strait, fog still hung, obscuring vision. Orcas were suddenly reported sighted off Kaikash Beach heading to the west while others were reported across the Strait on the Cracraft Island side. We waited west of Kaikash Beach listening for their blows as they approached and suddenly five Orcas loomed out of the fog making their way along the Vancouver Island shoreline, there were five of them and they sped on by, we had a brief glimpse only and thought them to be the A8’s. Back home looking on a larger screen we determined that it was in fact the A8’s with visuals of A66 and A79 among the five orcas. As they went by, lovely loud A-Clan calls were clearly audible via our hydrophone, it was such a beautiful moment with the breaking of the fog momentarily and then they were lost from our sight on a deep dive.  Surfacing further west, they appeared to have slowed their pace but were still a distance away making their identity difficult to ascertain for sure. Other Orcas followed behind in the fog, a beautiful line of smaller fins who also passed by quickly but then seemed to stall, A93 we thought we had glimpsed, and A-Clan vocalizations were heard and we were finally able to determine that it was the A30’s when A72 surfaced nearby, A38 and A39 were not seen at this point. A50 and calves began crossing in the direction of Cracroft Point and the A54’s followed, there was much social interaction between the calves with breaching and porpoising behaviour observed as they made their way across the Strait, it was a beautiful sight with Johnstone Strait open and beautiful in the bright sunlight. As we too made our way across the Strait, we sighted A38 and A39 foraging well apart in Blackney Passage with other orcas also sighted off Cracroft Point. Making our way into Blackfish Sound we enjoyed viewing a small group of Stellar Sea Lions, the sky grew dark and misty fog engulfed us before clearing again, it rained momentarily and then finally, the sky opened and the sun began shining hot and bright! On our way home, we sighted five humpback whales, one of which was seen breaching twice, another appeared suddenly out of nowhere, surfacing close-by, to the utter surprise of everyone on board. Also seen today: Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Black Oyster Catchers, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, a Double Crested Cormorant, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Red-necked Phalaropes and Gulls++

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