What to say after such a fantastic day of orca and humpback whale watching, the images still loom vivid and large in ones mind! It was truly amazing to see the parade of orcas passing rapidly through Weynton Passage and on into Johnstone Strait where they were seen, swimming quickly to the east. It began for us this morning just as we headed out with a report of the A30’s being at Flower Island and more orcas westing at Donegal Head and others further to the west as well who were also westing. We began making our way out through Weynton Passage while seeing the blows of two humpback whales along the Plumper Islands. The orcas off Donegal Head had meanwhile turned and were travelling east in the flooding current. We decided to observe one of the humpback whales and were making our way towards it when suddenly, behind us without any warning or prior sighting of them (other than those well behind us coming in from Donegal Head), ORCAS, there they were just off our stern! It was unbelievable as one pod sped on by, the A24’s (from photo ID of A71) were first and then the A30’s went speeding by as well in the surging current in Weynton Passage! It was fantastic to see the A30’s especially, it was our first sighting of them this summer and their first time back this summer into these waters as well. As the first groups carried on through Weynton Passage, looking back we could see other pods following, a group of stellar sea lions were swimming close along the Plumper Islands, dalls porpoises and three humpback whales were foraging nearby! In the midst of orca blows, larger humpback whale blows could also be seen, it was visually spectacular and awe-inspiring for all of us. The orcas entering into Johnstone Strait included: A24’s, A30’s, C’s, D’s, I11’s (I12’s)! It was a super-pod gathering and the most orcas that we have seen altogether all summer. It was so good to see the A30 matriline, sisters: A50 and her offspring, A54 and her offspring, as well their brother A38. Sadly, it has been confirmed that A39 has not been seen this summer and we now know that he has passed on. A38, brother to the A50/54 girls, was swimming parallel to his sisters and their family, he was positioned some 150 meters on the outside of them. What excitement and joy for us watching the entire sequence as they entered into Johnstone Strait and all moving quickly east down the Strait, some taking the Vancouver Island side, others favouring the Hanson Island side of the Strait. We turned back and were soon in sight of humpback whales, two of them feeding near the Plumper Islands with herring balls at the surface with gulls, auklets and murres feeding++ and then some incredible action was observed with lunge feeding++ and breaching! It was absolutely phenomenal! Words cannot express how profoundly perfect was this timing of orcas and humpback whales at the precise moment of our viewing; it was all of it, divine!
Today’s penned comments: “An amazing experience. We enjoyed the special care you took to make sure we had a good view of the whales while keeping us safe. Thank you for the clothes and everything you did.” ~ Carolyn, Chatham, Ontario
“This is the second time we have been on the tour!!! It was so much fun and the food was fantastic!!! ” ~ Ashley & Dawna, Saint Albert, AB
“A perfect trip! The boat is ideal for all wildlife watching, the information was so interesting and the humpback whales were a lifetime thrill!” ~ Nancy, Oregon
“Thank you for a wonderful experience on our honeymoon! The weather was great, the crew very friendly, the scones and muffins delicious. We can’t find any words for the great experience to see lots of whales!” ~ Markus & Antje, Germany
“This trip was absolutely spectacular! Beginning with an amazing appearance of so many groups of Northern Residents. The Seasmoke was in the right place at the right time and we were so lucky to see them all!! I was so excited! Watching the humpback whales lunge feeding and tripple breach was so cool! This has been the most wonderful trip ever! Plus the gluten free muffins and scones were delicious and most appreciated! Thanks a million!”~Laurie, WA
“A wonderful day, thank you. Sightings to die for! Orcas, humpbacks so close. Excellent food and drinks and great company. So good to be a small group, close to the water and quiet sailing.” ~ Fran, N.Wales, UK