Brilliant viewing of Orcas, Humpback & Minke Whales!

IMG_9107 IMG_9113 IMG_9118 IMG_9133 IMG_9179 IMG_9212 IMG_9227 IMG_9261 IMG_9285 IMG_9300 IMG_9303 IMG_9309 IMG_9310It was another day of contrast, colour and visual beauty in Johnstone Strait, beginning with heavy fog early on in the tour when Orcas were first reported heading back to the west in the vicinity of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. After briefly glimpsing a Humpback Whale in Weynton Passage, we continued down the Hanson Island shoreline and near the Baron Reefs, just east of Cracroft Point, we knew that we were getting close to the approaching Orcas, but still could not see them due to the denseness of the fog. Suddenly, there some were, surfacing near the bow of our boat, travelling quickly, porpoising along. They were the A50’s from the A30 Matriline and as we looked, Johnstone Strait was suddenly clearing of fog and with the blink of an eye, had vanished and all across the Strait, small groups of Orcas could be seen, spread out, all moving to the west. The sun was bright and warming, the sky blue and the Strait beautiful and shimmering, there was not a breath of wind. Orca blows and that of a Humpback Whale were clearly seen with the Humpback Whale being centre Strait and easting. We also observed some of the I15’s, their G-Clan vocalizations were heard via our hydrophone, as well as echolocations from both the A30’s and I15’s foraging nearby. It was interesting to watch the A50’s who had passed us by, suddenly charge back to forage close to the boat and then continued on in the direction of Cracroft Point where the rest of the A30’s were foraging in the vicinity of Blackney Passage where the current was flooding. The A8’s were also in the mix of orcas in the Strait today. It was up near Weynton Passage in Johnstone Strait that we observed two Humpback Whales lunge feeding through herring balls, and again like yesterday, we observed as the Whales quickly moved to where flocks of gulls were feeding on the herring at the surface of the water while mostly Common Murres had also gathered and were diving under the water to feed, in doing so, driving the herring upwards. As well as lunge feeding, we also observed some feeding where a whale simply hung suspended at the surface of the water and opening its mouth that filled with feed, it closed it, repeating the process a few times before moving on. As we began making our way homeward, a small group of Dall’s Porpoises joined us at the bow, riding along beside us, they treated us to some beautiful close-up viewing of them. Finally, near Pearse Passage, a Minke Whale who we identified as Bolt, was suddenly sighted surfacing nearby providing a wonderful finale to an extraordinary day of numerous Cetacean sightings. Also seen: Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Red-necked Phalaropes, Great Blue Herons and Gulls++.

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