It was a day of ever-changing weather conditions that began with rain and heavy cloud cover turning to gusting NW winds followed by more rain. There were clearing patches in the sky with no rain and dull grey waters turning unbelievably, to a sky of streaky blues and pinks and finally sunshine that felt warming and wonderful upon us as we made our way home on calm blue waters under a beautiful blue sky!
In the beginning, in Weynton Passage we counted some five humpback whales, three who were working alongside one another, surfacing and diving simultaneously, all the while brown clouds of sooty shearwaters circled around and as we watched they plunged into the ocean alongside common murres, a small number of rhinoceros auklets and the humpback whales! It was fantastic to see them in this manner, a feeding frenzy that lasted until the whales began to disperse when their food source had been devoured and they began to spread out over a wide area in Weynton Passage and beyond where blow after blow and disappearing fluke could be seen, for there were several more whales sighted covering a wide area, even back at the Stephensen Islands one was seen when we were heading home!
At one moment in a lull that followed the gusting wind and rain, a small sparrow, we think it was a Savannah Sparrow, in the brief moment that we had to view it but not photograph, it landed on a stay on our boat to rest before flying towards Weynton Island. It was a magical moment glimpsed today among so many others, with a beautiful light spreading across the water and the snowcapped Coast Range Mountains with a glacier peeping suddenly through the clouds and where black oystercatchers and pelagic cormorants were glimpsed sitting on a rocky outcrop!
The tranquil island waterways of the Plumper Islands did not disappoint us for they were vibrant and beautiful today. Migrating bird species flying high and ribbons of migrating Canada Geese passing overhead as we made our way back to Alert Bay was a wonderful finale to our day and while the weather was wild early on in our tour, it gave to us so much more. Beauty that was beyond belief at times, it was definitely, ‘nature’s magic’ at its best!
Also seen: red-necked phalaropes, harbour seals, stellar sea lions, bald eagles, great blue herons, belted kingfishers and gull species.
** The iphone was not quick enough for the humpback whales today, with their tail lobbing and distant breaching, not even our 400 mm lens/camera (of which we are still awaiting a part for) was quick enough for that!
Today’s penned comments: ‘Great trip! Their love and enthusiasm for the whales is contagious!” Sande & Mike, Florida
“Excellent excursion. Very informative. Scones delicious. Many thanks.” Jan & Ken, Orkney Islands, Scotland
“Dave & Maureen, Thank you for a great experience on your sailing ship. A first for us. It was great to see the whales in their natural environment. Best wishes” Eileen, Brian & Caroline, UK