Superb viewing and vocalizations of the A30 and I15 Matrilines with and without fog!

IMG_0466 IMG_0473 IMG_0505 IMG_0514 IMG_0521 IMG_0526 IMG_0578 IMG_0585 IMG_0619 IMG_0623 IMG_0626 IMG_0668 IMG_0674 IMG_0677 IMG_0678It was a magnificent day where the viewing got better and better even while the fog lingered, it was simply spectacular! We departed this morning in heavy fog and while Orcas had been reported in Johnstone Strait, they were headed to the east at quite a pace. We made our way over to the Stephenson Islands and enjoyed viewing Gulls, hauled out Harbour Seals and a Double Crested Cormorant who we have sighted frequently in recent weeks. Entering Weynton Passage the fog remained heavy and we made our way over to the hauled out Stellar Sea Lions and listening for blows as we went, we became aware that a Humpback Whale was nearby. It was fabulous to see the whale surfacing several times before diving and photographing the fluke, we were able to identify the whale as being “Argonaut” from the new Humpbacks of Northeastern Vancouver Island Catalogue put out by the Marine Education and Research Society  (MERS). With news that the Orcas had turned back to the west, we ourselves turned back into Johnstone Strait and headed east, making our way along the Hanson Island shoreline towards the Orcas. It is always a wonderful experience to see ones first Orca emerging out of the empty whiteness of heavy fog, and so it was for many onboard this morning as suddenly, there they were!  The A30’s were the first Orcas seen with the I15’s close behind them; A39 was travelling again today with the I27’s while the rest of the I15’s were nearby, they were all travelling close along the Hanson Island shoreline while the A30’s were some 400 metres further out from the shoreline. We observed when they stopped and rested briefly, waiting for some of the I15’s to catch up, then turning they made a start at going east before turning back to the west. Their vocalizations heard via our hydrophone were beautiful, fog bound we listened to the A-Clan calls of the A30’s and the G-Clan calls of the I15’s and when not seeing them for a moment, hearing calls along the shoreline, we knew them to be the I15’s with the A30’s, their calling a distance away, intermingling like an orchestra at play. It was breathtaking, a moment in time to be remembered long after today, not only of their blows punctuating the still foggy air and their vocalizations, but also of their mesmerizing synchronized surfacing, all together they would surface, fluid and effortless, we all watched in awe, spellbound!  Also seen interacting amongst the orcas were a small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins which were fascinating to watch. Joining us today were two returning guests, they were last out with us in the early ’90’s, it was a real joy and treat to have them onboard! Also seen: Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Great Blue Herons and Gulls.

One thought on “Superb viewing and vocalizations of the A30 and I15 Matrilines with and without fog!

  1. We want to thank you for the wonderful day – a major piece of heaven. Seeing the whales and birds and being with people like you that love what they are doing in the natural world, is for us what makes life so worth living. We think we were out with you in late Sepember, 1991. I will scan 3 pictures from that trip and one from this trip to your email address. Your blog is wonderful and copied it all. Your inner joy and exuberance comes through in your writings. From our travels our two highlights are both in B.C. The number one is our two trips with you and the second was a float plane to Skedans, Queen Charlottes to see the remnants of the village and the few mortuary poles left as all the totem poles were cut and hauled by Americans to museums.

    Thank you Seasmoke for seeing such beautiful life. Donna and Ken

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