Amazing day sailing with Resident Orcas A30’s & A8’s Humpback Whales++ & I15’s

IMG_8187 IMG_8190 IMG_8193 IMG_8210 IMG_8216 IMG_8238 IMG_8240 IMG_8246 IMG_8258 IMG_8263 IMG_8278 IMG_8294 IMG_8311 IMG_8314 IMG_8332 IMG_8346 IMG_8355 IMG_8372 It was an incredible day for whale watching in Johnstone Strait and Weynton Passage! When we headed out this morning we travelled east in Johnstone Strait where Orcas (A30’s & A8’s) were reported heading west from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. The wind was already blowing South Easterly 15-20 knots against a flooding current as we motored down the Strait hoisting our main-sail ahead of encountering Orcas who were near to Blackney Passage. The A30’s were in the lead following close along the Hanson Island shoreline, the A50’s were leading the A54’s while A38 and A39 were foraging independently with A39 favouring a movement towards Vancouver Island. We turned down-wind and began ‘Sailing with the Whales’ and while trailing our hydrophone, we listened to some wonderful A-Clan vocalizations. The A8’s were further out from Hanson Island and began crossing towards Vancouver Island and we enjoyed a close encounter when A66 and A88 suddenly surfaced nearby and turning towards us, they passed under the boat surfacing again off the port side of our boat, it was incredibly exciting viewing. We continued sailing west, ahead of us we could see the A50’s and A54’s who were already nearing Weynton Passage. We travelled through  the Little Weynton Island Passage nearing the Plumper Islands where two Humpback Whales were sighted; continuing through the Plumper Islands taking in the beautiful scenic waterways, more Humpback Whales could be seen out in Blackfish Sound and then, there they were, the I15’s a large family in a long resting line, converging in Weynton Passage and meeting up with the A30’s (minus A39) who had also gathered in a resting line facing them. Their A & G-Clan vocalizations together were unbelievable, the two pods of orcas in their quietly graceful resting lines made a beautiful sight, their meeting “underwater” and our not knowing where they would surface, their dive was a long one! Meanwhile the Humpback Whale activity of some six individuals in Weynton Passage at this same time was incredible as whale after whale surfaced and dived, some tail-lobing, others trumpeting, it was phenomenal viewing, the interplay of these great, yet so different cetacean species was stunning and superb to see, along with Stellar Sea-lions who were watching as well from their rocky outcrop! When the orcas surfaced they were behind us nearing Stubbs Island while the A8’s + A39 (from the A30’s ) surfaced nearby, making their way out through Weynton Passage, en route to joining the gathering of pods, where here the A34’s also appeared. Also seen on this remarkable day: Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Harlequin Ducks, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Phalaropes and Gulls.

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