Our tour today was a truly awesome one that took the viewing of wildlife in our area to a level of great excitement and intrigue. We began our morning at the top end of Johnstone Strait viewing a large gathering of gulls feeding on a herring/ bait ball while a humpback whale blow was seen near Weynton Island. We lost track of that whale but saw two more feeding in Weynton Passage, one making its way towards Cormorant Channel and then there were two more whales including ‘Guardian’ feeding nearby us. As Guardian made her way towards the ebbing current flowing by Stubbs Island where hundreds of birds were feeding we started down Blackfish Sound where there were five more humpback whales feeding, all were spread out, from Bold Head down to Parsons Light. It was fabulous seeing them all, as well the sooty shearwater birds seen plunging into the water and flying across it in their unmistakable flight pattern, common murres were also actively feeding and some rhinoceros auklets as well while small flocks of red-necked phalaropes were seen in flight, skimming just inches above the water!
There were numerous stellar sea-lions, some hauled out but many more were seen swimming along the shorelines and when it was reported that three orca’s had been sighted travelling west in Johnstone Strait from the Boat Bay Light we headed towards Blackney Passage in perfect timing to see them, as well, there were two more humpback whales feeding in Blackney Passage! At the same time, we could see a small group of dall’s porpoises who arrived and were swimming at the bow of our boat briefly before speeding towards the bottom of Hanson Island in Johnstone Strait. The orcas had surfaced just once having taken a long dive, and then as the porpoises sped off, the orcas for a short while looked to be amongst some of them but the orcas then turned and headed back into Blackney Passage travelling alongside the shoreline of Little Hanson Island arriving at the point where we had earlier seen stellar sea-lions swimming in the water. One of the orcas lunged out of the water and we saw a sea-lion surface and quickly make its way towards the other sea-lions and shoreline. When the orcas surfaced again, we could see that they had joined together and were travelling/ resting in the ebbing current in Blackfish Sound, synchronized in their surfacing and diving sequence. We identified the orcas as the T46C’s and this was later confirmed by Jared (DFO). The Matriarch T046C (21 years) and her two off-spring T046C1 (9 years) & T046C2 (6 years) were in the area two days ago on September 15, 2015.
It was a day we all so enjoyed! It was exhilarating with so much marine and bird activity nearby to keep us fully engaged and in the moment! The scenery was beautiful where the cloud formations and colours on the water and in the sky were stunning! The kelp forests with a great blue heron rafted on and feeding, sparkled in the sunlight and the Coast Range Mountains across the waters of George Passage, although they were partially cloud-capped today, added much to the beauty we all so enjoyed!
*The photo’s today were taken by our iphone and show the scenic beauty and beautiful colours of the sky and sea but the orca and humpback whale photo’s are on our larger camera that we have been having trouble downloading!
Today’s penned comments: “Wonderful tour. Perfect, personal attention. You have to sail on today’s wind, the wind of yesterday is already gone. You don’t know if there is wind tomorrow, you have to sail on todays wind.” Martin & Gemma, Netherlands.
“Dave & Maureen, Thank you for an awesome day with a lot of memories! An International trip four sure! Gilakisla.” Pearl & Mike, Alert Bay, BC
“Dave & Maureen, Thank you very much for this terrific experience!!! We had a great time onboard and we’ll definitely spread the word. Thank you very much! See you next time!” Frank & Astrid, Germany
“Thank you both once again for a wonderful day. Great weather, lots of whales and delicious muffins and scones. This is our second time we have taken this tour.” Helen & Rob, Coquitlam, BC
“Maureen & Dave, Thanks so much for a fantastic day with delicious food and great whale sightings!” P & P, Switzerland
“Thank you for the experience, it was our first time on a boat like this and we loved it! We saw everything we wanted: humpback whales, orcas, sea lions and porpoises! We even saw an otter! Wonderful day! ” Pauline & Cedric, France