Today’s sightings: Resident Orca’s, Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles and a Eaglet on a bough beside its nest, Great Blue Herons, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Belted Kingfishers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes and Gull species.
A moody mixture of sun, cloud and eerie fog that wisped through narrow channels and clung to the tops of cedar trees, created a mystical panorama on our tour this morning.
Fog accentuates everything. It seems to act like a blanket that quietens all other things, except the sounds of surfacing whales and the shrill from nearby birds. In fog, the ocean is tranquil-calm, the silence is deafening and the blows from distant whales sound even more thunderous.
Orcas stole the show today as numerous blows and piercingly black dorsal fins sliced through the water as our resident killer whales came in from the west. These family oriented animals displayed social behaviour as they frolicked, played and interacted with each other, in the same manner as if you were watching a human family playfully wrestling in the park. Often when viewing whales in the wild, you seldom see their entire head and face, however today we were gifted. On the odd occasion a smooth, black head with a pure white eye patch would appear up from the glassy calm sea. This behaviour is known as spying hopping which describes the act of the whale popping to the surface to spy on the world above. They have relatively good eyesight and so they utilize this sense to get an idea of what is around them above the sea.
Throughout the morning as we lowered the hydrophone, the whale vocalizations matched their playful spirits. High-pitched squeaks and squeals delightfully filled our ears as we listened to the undersea world of the Orca. It is moments like these that you cannot help but feel truly fortunate to be witnessing nature at its wildest.
Other highlights enjoyed by our guests was a fearless Great Blue Heron, poised elegantly on a floating stipe of Bull Kelp. A seal decided to take a closer look at our guests and surfaced near our vessel, giving our guests the opportunity to photograph these dog-like facial features of our local Harbour Seals. Black Turnstones were abundant today as they foraged on nearby rocks and reefs and areas of strong current.
Thank you Northern Vancouver Island for your gifts today, we shall cherish them in our memory banks.
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.