It was another day of brilliant viewing with so much to see and where all around us, time and again, beauty, wonder and magic showed itself to all of us! Where does one begin to start writing an account of today’s tour? At the dock in Alder Bay, we once again we had a wonderful viewing of the family of river otters who were curious and playful in their behaviour. It was a great start to what was going to be an incredible day of viewing cetaceans.
In the distance, looking down Johnstone Strait humpback whale blows could be seen near Weynton Island with an abundant of gulls flying in clouds above and as we neared the area we could see that the two whales were feeding intensively on herring/bait balls, circling around and around and some lunge feeding by them was also observed. It was simply fantastic to see the diving birds, mostly common murres with some rhinoceros auklets amongst them, at work diving and feeding on the herring from depths below the water and the gulls above also feeding, and then watching two humpback whales moving through all of them with enormous velocity and momentum! Guardian was one of the whales that we observed feeding, while the herring ball and bird activity lasted.
Orcas were reported travelling to the east and nearing the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve shortly after we departed this morning, the I15’s and A42’s, while the A30’s were reported travelling back to the west near the ‘Cliff”. As we neared Blackney Passage we could see three humpback whales working the area and observed their blows, arching backs and flukes that disappeared as we watched them in our passing by to the east.
It was wonderful when the first orca fins appeared off one of the smaller islands of the Sophia Islets, the A30’s having travelled a fair distance east, it was reported as far as Powell River, and now they were now back in the core habitat area and approaching Blackney Passage and our vessel! How beautiful to see them, the two sisters, A50 and A54 and their off-spring, moving quietly and slowly and taking long dives with a small group of pacific white-sided dolphins swimming with them. Many more dolphins caught up to the other dolphins and the A30’s and soon the orcas disappeared on another long dive! We waited and waited as the dolphins darted back and forth at the entrance to Blackney Passage, believing that the A30’s were not far away and sure enough, there they were, surfacing suddenly near the bow of our boat. With our mainsail hoisted and hydrophone deployed we drifted in the ebbing current in Blackney Passage, we did not hear any orca vocalizations at all, but we did hear some high pitched dolphin calls and a humpback whale grunting and we looked for A38 who was not with his sisters A50 and A54 but had been seen earlier in the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, swimming with the A42’s and the I15’s!
In between watching the A30 matriline, we had also been watching a humpback whale tail-lobbing multiple times! It was incredible watching the humpback while also trying to watch the dolphins who were charging all around, as well the orcas! It was amazing seeing all of this in our immediate and wonderful surroundings and how fortunate we all felt to be onboard and viewing such an array of marine species! Another humpback was seen with dolphins+++ all around it, meanwhile the A30’s made their escape quietly after a long dive took them into Blackfish Sound while more orcas were seen at Cracroft Point, they were the A42’s, and also the I27’s (part of the I15’s) appearing along with A38 who had suddenly arrived, catching up to his sisters! How beautiful to see and how well orchestrated was the meeting of the pods!
We headed west in Johnstone Strait passing a humpback whale en route, a stellar sea lion and numerous hauled out harbour seals and bald eagles. We had also seen today: red-necked phalaropes, dall’s porpoises and belted kingfishers.
Today’s penned comments:“A wonderful and relaxed trip and pretty good hosts!”Werner, Germany
“Had a wonderful trip with lots of orcas and humpbacks, seals and eagles! Happy to do another whale watching trip after a disappointing tour in Victoria. Thanks!” Andreas & Janiel, Germany
“Dave and Maureen what lovely hosts!! My husband and myself have seen whales in Oregon but never like this!! What an amazing trip! Orcas, humpbacks, eagles and even seals. This is truly Gods Country! So beautiful! We will be back!” Rene and Wally, Oregon, USA
“It was a wonderful tour for whale watching. We’ve seen a lot of orcas, it was exciting. We’ve also seen humpback whales feeding. It was a great experience for all of us. Thank you!” Karl & Sabine, Nico & Ana, Germany
‘This was one of our best travelling experiences! So exciting to see so many whales in one day. Thanks for all of your good information and delicious treats. We’ll be recommending this trip to all our friends.” Tim and Lynn, Port Coquitlam, BC