It was an incredible day and one cannot help but feel excited to welcome and witness more pods of orcas returning into our local marine waters as summer progresses! Today was an extraordinary day of sunshine with beautiful blue seas and sky and high temperatures on both the land and sea, here on the North Island, with numerous cetaceans being sighted. How incredible it was to arrive at Blackney Passage just as several family groups of orcas started to make their way back into Johnstone Strait, having spent most of the night in the vicinity of Blackfish Sound. With our hydrophone deployed we were fortunate to hear some G-Clan calls when the I15’s entered into the Strait, altogether it was like a brilliant orchestrated flow of dorsal fins, and so beautiful to watch the flow! The A5’s entered (A23’s), the I15’s next and also the beloved A36 brothers Plumper and Kaikash, the A25’s following the same pathway as the A23’s and then the A42’s! We enjoyed watching pectoral and tail slapping as well a small group as they foraged close along the Cracroft Island shoreline. We watched in awe their passing, our senses filled to overflowing when pectoral slapping could also be heard on our hydrophone and then quietly, they all began travelling east, crossing the Strait in the direction of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, an excited return with much socializing together ahead for them all! We turned up into Blackfish Sound and nearing the top end we encountered a humpback whale and a second (with possibly a third) was also seen in the flooding current in Weynton Passage. Also seen today: Harbour seals, dall’s porpoises, stellar sea lions, rhinoceros auklets++, common murres, marbled murrelets, bald eagles, a great blue herton, belted kingfishers++, glaucous-winged gulls and herring gulls.
Today’s penned comments: “We are sailors and especially like the idea of taking a whale watching tour from a sailing yacht rather than a powerboat. Our hostess was very knowledgeable and spent most of the trip telling us the maritime history of the area, plus the history of whales in the area. For instance, we did not realize that there are distinct types of orcas and the feeding patterns are different and the ‘transient’ orcas eat more of a variety of marine mammals whereas the ‘residents’ focus on salmon. She also explained about the return of humpback whales to the area after they had been hunted near to extinction in these waters. The beauty of the area was explained and even if we had not seen the orcas, the trip would have been worth the time. It was worth driving to the north end of Vancouver Island to experience the whales, sea lions, salmon and eagles. Come join the crew of Seasmoke Whale Watching for a wonderful and educational trip.” ~ Jamie Brickell, Maryland, USA.
“I grew up in the area, but the marine mammals and the areas that we explored today were all new to me! We so enjoyed our talks about the orcas and their families. The day was beyond beautiful; we loved getting to know the other passengers too! Thank- you!” Theresa, Sointula, BC.
“What a fantastic experience! I’m so excited that we got to see so many whales and beautiful scenery. Thank you!” ~ Karen, Vancouver, BC.