September 15th, 2016
Our sightings: A Minke Whale, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Sooty Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Belted Kingfishers and Gulls galore!
Fog and drizzle greeted us this morning attempting to dampen our spirits but instead, our spirits soared from the onset because of what was then to follow. Like a spell unravelling, the magic began with a near sighting of a Minke Whale soon after we left the dock in Alder Bay! It was a peaceful encounter and we sat observing it in silence for a longtime watching as it surfaced and dived while active in feeding.
We made our way out through Weynton Passage and had a fabulous viewing of two Humpback Whales, one of which was trap feeding nearby. It was an incredible sight to watch as the large whale slowly surfaced with its mouth gaping wide open and its body hanging vertically, seemingly suspended in the water while small shoaling fish (herring) swam into its wide open mouth and then once inside the “trap” the mouth closed.
There was a report of Biggs (Transient) Orcas in George Passage travelling east, some 8-10 orcas who were later identified as the T049s and T019s. Our viewing of them when they unexpectedly surfaced nearby was breathtaking, the images of the big black and white Orcas was stunning to see and filled our hearts and minds to the brim!
Our afternoon tour found us viewing Humpback Whales, some were close while others were in the distance and some of them including Ridge were trap feeding. The same Biggs (Transient) Orcas as seen on our morning tour were seen near the Sophia Islets in Johnstone Strait, they were in a resting line while T049A1 and T019C we observed were still in close physical contact to one another as they had been on the morning tour, it was wonderful watching the two interact while the other orcas rested nearby.
It was an amazing day with so much to see and presented us with a myriad of Cetacean species, big and small, when porpoises and dolphins also appeared into the mix!
Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photo’s have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.