Today’s Sightings: Orca, Humpback whales, Minke whales, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Common Murres, Belted Kingfishers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Black Oystercatchers and Gull species.
It was another marine mammal packed tour today as we saw three different species of whales. We had only been on the boat for two minutes when our first Minke whale encounter occurred. We were travelling from Alert Bay to Alder Bay and just about to pick up our final guests.
Once everyone was onboard we ventured towards one of the small islands which often houses numerous Bald Eagles and an ‘easy to see’ Bald Eagle nest which we like to point out to our passengers. As we traveled, another Minke whale surfaced and nearby this Baleen whale was a small group of Dall’s porpoises steadily traveling in the same direction. Already ‘all creatures great and small’ was coming to life in the first fifteen minutes of our adventure!
After a lovely look at the Minke whale and porpoises we motored toward our Humpback whale feeding grounds. It wasn’t long before we saw our first blow, followed by a fluke rising from the sea so elegantly. Suddenly, smaller blows and triangular, as black dorsal fins rose up to the surface in clear view. “Orca”, was soon called out excitedly from our boat.
It was a pod consisting of approximately six individuals. Tucked in amongst this pod was a much smaller, younger whale. While listening to the radio chatter coming from the researchers, it was announced that this was a new calf, born in December of 2016. We were lucky enough to see an eight month old Orca. This group were the T90’s and they were Biggs (Transient) Orca. Salmon is not on the menu for these Killer Whales, instead they prefer Porpoises, Dolphins, Seals, Sea Lions and even Minke whale, just to name a few species that they prey upon. They are stealth hunters, silently cruising the coastline in hope of finding an unaware Harbour Seal or perhaps hunting co-operatively within their family to literally separate a dolphin or porpoise from its pod.
For the final portion of our journey we watched a Humpback whale forage closely along the shoreline. The bull kelp secured to the bottom of the seabed, and the connected stipe and fronds floating on the surface was being gently disturbed by the Humpback. At times we could see the fronds floating over the actual back of the Humpback whale. An astonishing finish to a fabulous tour that gifted us the spontaneous treasures of our natural world.