When we leave on tours in the morning we seldom know exactly what we are going to see. Occasionally, it is foggy and we have to listen for blows or for vocalizations on the hydrophone. Today it was cloudy but mild and we saw just about everything we could hope for.
The trip started off with several sightings of Bald Eagles including a chick sitting in the nest. We also saw plenty of Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Turnstones and a few Black Oystercatchers, Cassin’s Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets. After observing some harbour seals for a while we found two foraging humpback whales. One of them, Guardian was taking long dives but the other one was feeding leisurely near the surface and we got excellent views of its pectoral fins waving in the air.
After this we found a young white-tailed buck eating foliage on a small island followed by a group of nearly 200 Pacific white-sided dolphins. They came ripping over to the boat and swam alongside of us for several minutes before peeling off towards the orcas. We did the same and about half a kilometre away we sat with the engines off and watched the dolphins swim all around as the orcas approached. It was the A23 and A25 matrilines of northern residents. They were resting all together with A60 out front. After they passed we observed the A42 matriline before finding 5 more humpback whales on the way home! All of this within a few miles of Alert Bay and all in a 3 hour tour!