Sightings today: Orcas (Resident and Biggs Transient ), Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Red- necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species
It was a busy day at Seasmoke Whale Watching as three tours went out to play. Numerous visitors arrived on the shores of Cormorant Island in search of the rich First Nation Culture that is present here, as well as an opportunity to experience our glorious oceanic backyard.
In the early wee hours of the morning the Resident Orcas travelled west in Blackfish Sound, their presence detected by whale calls heard on the hydrophones of the nearby Research Station, Orcalab. This land-based research station has been present for over four decades. They not only listen to the underwater sounds 24/7 every day of every year, they record the vocalisations as well. The founders of Orcalab and volunteers have also been mapping the movements of these Northern Resident family groups including the changes within the family units. It is the longest ongoing land-based research of its kind.
We encountered the Orcas near the Foster Islands where they were still travelling west and observed traveling, resting, socializing, foraging and feeding behaviours. Seen amongst the Orcas was the occasional blow and the lifting of a fluke from Humpback whale. It is humbling to witness both an Orca and a Humpback in the same vicinity, sharing in the abundance of the sea and co-existing in what seems like a harmonious manner. Our encounters with the Humpback whales today were numerous and wonderful and we were fortunate in observing both lunge and bubble-net feeding.
During the day the prevailing NW wind picked up, forming white-caps on what had been a glassy calm sea. And although the conditions changed, the wildlife in the area continued about their day. The Humpback whale that was bubble net feeding continued feasting, the birds in flight were not hindered by the increasing wind and the Harbour seals remained upon the rocks at low tide despite the change in shore break as water splashed against the reefs.
On our way home after a fabulous late afternoon tour of viewing Humpback whales and other marine life, our guests onboard observed a small group of Biggs Transient Orcas in hunting mode (of seals) around a small group of Islands where earlier today on both the morning and afternoon tours, guests had enjoyed watching the same Harbour seals, mothers and their pups, hauled out and resting. That all changed this evening with the arrival of the three Transient Orcas in and amongst the reefs and islands.
Like a continuously flowing paint brush on a forever changing canvas, the turning tide and change in current and predators on the move, altered the conditions yet again.
It was a splendid day where folks from all over the globe chose to visit and cool down in the sea-breeze blowing on friendly Cormorant Island.
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.