As we were nearing Weynton Passage this morning we saw three small groups of pacific white-sided dolphins, two groups raced by very fast, the third group looked to have stopped to rest. What a day it was for Bigg’s (Transient Orcas), with various groups appearing throughout the tour. A small group of Transients were first reported off Blackney Passage and also near Little Kaikash Beach in Johnstone Strait but then they were sighted travelling quickly along the Swanson Island shoreline in Blackfish Sound! At the same time another group of Bigg’s (Transient Orcas), the T046C’s were sighted at the top end of Blackfish Sound and as we watched they slowly made their way against the ebbing current into Weynton Passage. The other group who were headed west began angling across the top end of Blackfish Sound towards Donegal Head, they were the T059’s and we enjoyed watching the interaction between the younger calves with some breaching, pectoral fin slapping and playful rolling. They were resting and stayed in the back-eddy off Donegal Head. We also saw two humpback whales near the Plumper Islands at the same time that the first group of orcas went through.
Leaving the orcas we headed towards Bold Head and seeing sooty shearwater birds circling in flight, it was incredible to see them literally falling from the sky and diving into the water en mass to feed as we neared Bold Head where a number of actively feeding humpback whales were. Our timing was perfect in seeing at least five humpback whales working the area along with the shearwaters, common murres and rhinoceros auklets, all diving birds, together feeding alongside the massive bodies of the whales! It was phenomenal watching as whale after whale surfaced and dived, at times, two in unison, all seemingly beautifully choreographed! Two of the whales we identified as being Conger and Domino. It was fascinating to watch blow after blow as the whales passed by near to us and at a distance, our watching in wonder, all of us mesmerized by the beauty of our surroundings and nature’s magic, flowing all around us.
Crossing Blackfish Sound, we passed through some island waterways, viewing stellar sea lions swimming in the water and hauled out, one sea-lion on its own was moving rapidly and we have to wonder if it had seen Transient’s coming its way as, a group entered Weynton Passage, around the corner from where we had seen the single sea-lion, just after we had passed through! We had seen just one male dorsal fin at a distance but it turns out they were the T069’s! They went by the stellar sea lions and carried on making their way in the direction of Cormorant Island, travelling behind us as we headed for home and passing right by Alert Bay a while later! It was a very exciting day for viewing both orca’s and humpback whales and other marine life in the area! Also seen: harbour seals, dall’s porpoise, bald eagles, white-winger scoters, red-necked phalaropes and gull species.
- Please note, our photo’s of the orcas and humpback whales taken today we still cannot download from our camera. Photo’s by our iphone are mostly of scenery and our passengers, the orca photo’s are of poor quality and have not been included, a few humpback whale photo’s are shown here.
Today’s penned comments: “Many thanks for two amazing trips. Wonderful to be shown the whales by people who know them by name and we really enjoyed seeing the other wildlife too. Delicious food as well.” Penny & Peter, UK
“Thank you for a memorable adventure! Great company and informative talk. An unforgettable trip.” Kiran, Toronto
“An incredible experience – thank you. Wishing you the very best!” Rachel, Melbourne, Australia
“Another epic day aboard the Tuan. Thanks Dave and Maureen for the great memories – you’ve done Alert Bay and its wildlife proud.” Andy, Toronto