It was another beautiful day on the North Island and on the water as well with a clear blue sky and sea that was glassy like a mirror, and where looking outwards across to the mainland it seemed one could see for miles! Ahead of leaving the dock at Alder Bay we and our passengers enjoyed a fabulous viewing of the two juvenile river otters that we have seen frequently this summer. Always curious, they are amusing to watch especially in their play together and whenever separated for a short while, they are quick to seek each other out. We could see the blows of humpback whales in Weynton Passage, spread across Blackfish Sound, and out off the White Cliff Islands. With news of orcas west of Malcolm Point we headed in the direction of the humpback whales and what a fabulous time we had, beginning in the quiet waters surrounding the White Cliff Islands where we viewed one whale working close in along the rocky shorelines and reefs. It was breathtaking being out there today and not another boat in sight! Closer to Bold Head three more humpback whales were seen moving about in wide circles, one of whom we saw waving about its pectoral fin, another was lunging close along the rock off Bold Head, this one we heard trumpeting while a stellar sea-lion exited away from the area. More whales were seen as we made our way towards Weynton Passage, passing hauled out stellar sea-lions along the way. Wherever one looked today across the water the seascape was spectacular, small groups of common murres could be seen sitting on the water surface and gulls as well and the sound of them calling punctuated the stillness of the day. We were in for a surprise nearing Alder Bay when we encountered a group of some 25+ pacific white-sided dolphins, they were milling about together on the surface and resting and several came swimming alongside briefly. As a grand finale to a wonderful day we also had a brief encounter with some dall’s porpoises who appeared out of nowhere, they rode briefly at the bow of our boat and disappeared as quickly as they arrived! Also seen today not previously mentioned: harbour seals, cassin’s auklets, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, double crested cormorants, common loons, great blue herons, surf scoters, harlequin ducks and gull species.
Today’s penned comments: “Have been trying for years to see whales. Now that I’ve seen some I can die happy. But, first I’d really like to see some more.” ~ Susan and John (my wonderful husband who brought me to this beautiful place). California.
‘It was a great experience on a wonderful sunny day. We missed orca Free Willy but we could see other whales and sea-lions and eagles and…and….thank you for taking us out!” ~ Jelna & Pascal, Switzerland