Superb viewing of Orcas and lunge feeding Humpback Whales!

IMG_8867 IMG_8870 IMG_8891 IMG_8896 IMG_8986 IMG_8994 IMG_9010 IMG_9020 IMG_9032 IMG_9045 IMG_9046 IMG_9048 IMG_9049 IMG_9056 IMG_9069 IMG_9070 What an amazing morning we shared on the water viewing Cetaceans and what a surprise viewing it was too! It was a foggy morning when we headed out and rather than clearing, the fog seemed to thicken around us. We were making our way into Weynton Passage and enjoying viewing the quiet beauty of the Stephensen Islands when Orca fins were suddenly sighted a distance away, breaking suddenly out of the fog and heading towards us through Weynton Passage on the flooding current. It was a moment of surreal beauty, of not quite believing it to be real, but then looking again and seeing the fins once more advancing through the fog towards us, and there were many fins! As the orcas advanced, we became aware of a smaller group of orcas separate from the large group and identified them as the A8’s while in the larger group, spread out in a very large resting line we could identify the A30’s but another large family with them we could not be 100% certain of. While the A30’s have been travelling with the I15’s in recent days, from our count today including the A30’s, there did not seem to be enough orcas, and we could only see one other male in the group, plus A38 and A39 (A30’s Matriline). The viewing was breathtaking and beautiful and the whiteness of the surrounding fog held us all spellbound, aware that we were witnessing something special in the foggy quietness and emptiness of the morning. We deployed our hydrophone at the entrance to Johnstone Strait and heard one A-Clan call only. The orcas carried on into the Strait with the push of the flooding current behind them, they moved quickly making their way down the Hanson Island shoreline; the A8’s closest to the shoreline were slightly behind the A30’s + ? I15’s.  We watched as they moved away from us, their fins disappearing quickly into the fog beyond, just as we had first encountered them coming out of the fog!  We made our way back into Weynton Passage and without going any distance, enjoyed viewing the dynamics of three Humpback Whales, all three feeding on herring balls. We could easily see the bait balls gathering with a myriad of gulls feeding off herring at the surface of the water and then quickly rising up in flight as a whale commenced lunge feeing through the herring ball. Even when the Orcas were transiting through Weynton Passage earlier a Humpback Whale was seen feeding only meters away from them and the blows of Orcas and Humpback Whales punctuated the still morning air beautifully in their passing. Also seen: Stellar Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Black Oyster Catchers, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Belted Kingfishers, Ruddy Turnstones and Gulls.

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