Our tour today was a fantastic one with incredible sightings of both orcas and humpback whales. As we headed out this morning through Weynton Passage we passed four humpback whales who were all spread a distance apart feeding and moving rapidly about in the flooding current. We carried on and sighted orcas travelling west along the Swanson Island shoreline, they too were well spread out and foraging and we could soon make out the unmistakable dorsal fin belonging to A38 from the A30’s matriline as he foraged west from Bold Head. Before we realized, several orcas (who we had seen foraging intensely a distance away, females and their calves) suddenly rushed together, excited and playful with one of them breaching multiple times. The vocalizations heard via our hydrophone were A-Clan calls from both the A30’s and A42’s and they were absolutely wonderful to listen to. We drifted in the flooding current with our engine off enjoying the beauty and sounds of our surroundings and looking out towards Mainland BC, the water was flat calm and there were very few boats around, we could also see and hear the blows of several more humpback whales, some a distance away with one surfacing amongst the orcas. We were taken completely by surprise when several orcas came swimming towards us and before we knew it, they were around and under the boat, looking upwards at us as they did so. We will never know if they were inquisitive and playful or chasing salmon alongside the hull of the boat, it was so unexpected to see them at such close proximity and happened so quickly. To us they appeared highly interested in our own excited squeals of amazement as much as we were interested in looking down on their black and white streamlined bodies, it was utterly and unbelievably stunning to witness so many exquisite moments in the blink of an eye! It happened not once but several times with them passing alongside and under and around the boat with incredible viewing of majestic wonder and beauty. The humpback whale continued to surface nearby and began to steal the show with multiple tail lobbing that lasted a long while or so it seemed, it too was fantastic to watch! We cruised through the Plumper Islands and entering Weynton Passage we could see four humpback whales working the area, cruising back and forth, all of them were feeding intensely. One whale caught our attention when lunge feeding through a herring ball and as we came closer we could see that it had commenced to trap feed. With its jaws wide open on the waters surface, and lying vertical in the water it would stay still momentarily and then close its mouth, swallowing the small fish trapped inside using baleen while straining out the water. It was astonishing to watch, the sequence became one of waiting for it to resurface and then to observe the mouth wide open and to also see the baleen! Also seen today: stellar sea lions++, harbour seals, common murres, rhinoceros and cassin’s auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels, great blue herons, bald eagles and gull species.
Today’s penned comments: “Thank you for a wonderful trip! It was really amazing to see the whales, eagles, sea lions…we hope to come back in a few more years to do a trip with you again.” ~ Steven & Kathrin, Germany
“Most amazing time! Love the boat, your knowledge of both the area and wildlife. Thanks so much. ” ~Bob & Heidi, Alberta
“Maureen & Dave, what an incredibly special day! Absolutely amazing day! Thanks so much.”~ Barb & Don, BC
“Absolutely INCREDIBLE! Killer whales swimming under and around the boat, sea lions basking and humpbacks trap fishing! A once in a life-time opportunity. Thank you.” ~ Don Jr, Canada
“Thank’s for the trip! What a trip!” Ian, Manitoba