How marvellous and mysterious was our day and the weather beautiful as well, despite heavy rainfall in other areas on Vancouver Island! There was a report of orcas travelling quickly to the west on a strong ebbing current through Blackfish Sound well ahead of our departure this morning and another report of orcas travelling North, some passing the Penfold Islets while others behind them were reported off the White Cliff Islands, a wide spread of orcas and moving quickly in the current!
The lighting was fabulous with indigo blues and turquoise, at times there were hues of purple in the mix, it was a gorgeous morning to be out and about viewing cetaceans! We passed a number of humpback whales, observing their tails, backs and blows en route to the orcas, some were close and some off in the distance, all of it was exciting and all of us were fully present enjoying moment by moment the magnificent beauty as it unfolded around us.
Our first sighting of orcas were those closest to the White Cliff Islands, there looked to be five individuals, all were foraging, a small group of three foraging together, a single male and another female near to the male, their numbers seemed to fit the A42’s but it was not them and we are still unsure but leaning towards some of the I15’s. The male suddenly made his way towards us foraging steadily and passing right by us, it happened so quickly but the fin we were sure, did not have a nick and was not A66. With our engine off and boat drifting we could listen to beautiful A & G-Clan orcas, we could also hear some blows further to the west of us and soon, sure enough there they were! We could see A38 at a long distance away, travelling east, the North side of the Foster Islands, we could also see A72 and her calf and the rest of the A30’s (A54 and A50 with the rest of the family) travelling in our direction. It was truly beautiful to be out there this morning, the orcas spread so far apart and being so far across George Strait, the Strait that eventually leads to the Queen Charlotte Strait.
We were then so fortunate to enjoy some fabulous viewing of A38 as he foraged around our boat. While the A50’s and A54’s carried on to the east in the now flooding current, A38 stopped to forage intensively around the hull of our boat. He was chasing salmon and we had some remarkable viewing of his body gliding alongside and then lunging his body, he was fully engaged in lunge feeding. As our boat drifted with the engine off, we were able to listen to A-Clan vocalizations and his loud echolocations nearby! Special, splendid and spontaneous, it was fantastic to see this large orca moving so deftly through the water. When A38 surfaced, and began making his way east, he did so, following after his sisters. Looking back, we could see more orcas travelling in our direction from the Foster Islands, they were a matriline group of the I15’s, the I65’s for sure, as I122 was one of the orcas identified, thanks to Jared Towers (DFO) for identifying the photo forwarded to him.
What a wonderful day we shared and all so enjoyed! We also observed dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes, gull species and bald eagles.
Today’s penned comments: “Thank you for a very nice trip with nice company and weather. We will look at orcas differently now!” Nic and Jeannette, Netherlands
“It was a wonderful tour to see orca’s. Thank you!” Gerol, Germany
“A wonderful day on the sea. Not a moment went by without action.” Bob, England
“A fantastic experience! Lots of orcas and some humpbacks. The hydrophone really complimented the scene. Great Information from Maureen.” Arthur, England