Sightings today: Orcas, Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, one Pacific White-sided dolphin swimming with the orcas, one Stellar Sea-lion, Harbour seals and pups, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Black Oystercatchers, Belted Kingfishers and a Black-tailed deer (fawn).
It seems as though our resident Orca have arrived for the summer as once again we viewed them in all their oceanic glory during our tour this morning. They were first sighted by our skipper and guests coming in from the West, tucked close along the shores of Malcolm Island. A large male with his stunning tall dorsal fin swam further offshore from his family members and cruised by our boat while foraging, giving our guests a delightful view of this magnificent animal.
The Orcas were identified as the A30’s, I15’s and A5’s which were the same groups as yesterday. The overcast and calm conditions made their black and white colouration stand out so vibrantly against the smokey grey sea. By the time we left them they had covered a number of miles and were heading in to Weynton Passage, perhaps with a plan to forage. The salmon runs are crucial for our resident Orcas as this is their main food source which sustains them throughout the summer and beyond.
It was a joy to see at least four Great Blue Herons in flight today, with their large wing-span stretched out like plane wings and gangly legs tucked beneath their tail feathers. These herons are the most remarkable, patient hunters as they lightly perch on bull kelp, waiting enduringly for a small fish to swim by.
Our tour is not complete until we have witnessed the gentle giants of this region, our faithful Humpback whales who have been sighted in this area since late April, and will likely be here until the end of November. Their blows that can reach up to three meters high are easy to see from a distance and once their fluke (whale tail) ascends up from the sea, in preparation for a deep dive, their presence has been given away. It is hard not to miss this massively broad body part when the conditions are so benign.
On our journey back to base, we peacefully meandered through the charming narrow passage ways that allowed us the opportunity to view Harbour seals and shore birds which included the Black Oystercatcher and Belted Kingfisher.
Today we sighted a young Black-tailed deer (fawn) which had a different colouration than the ones that had been sighted over the past couple of days. This makes us wonder how many family groups of deer presently call these islands their home.
It was a stunning day spent with our keen and eager guests who soaked up the magic of this region and left our boat smiling.
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.