Today’s sightings: Humpback whales, a Minke whale, Stellar Sea Lions, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals, Black-tailed deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Black Oystercatchers, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.
The month of August is an interesting time to be on the water in this region. It is when the North Island experiences its warmest weather. Boaters have nick-named this month as Fogust which describes our month so far, perfectly. As well, food is abundant as different salmon species make their way up to the rivers to spawn and so we experience a variety of whales, which we often get to observe feeding. It is certainly the busiest month in regards to tourists who are traveling the length of Vancouver Island, in hope of seeing the wildlife Canada is best known for. It truly is a gem of a place to visit and for those of us that live here, we are proud of our back yard.
Humpbacks and Minke whales were the highlights of our tours today, not to mention the large group of Stellar Sea lions we viewed cruising relatively near our boat. We recognised half of the Humpbacks we viewed today which included Inukshuk, Blackpearl and Argonaut. It wasn’t hard to find the whales even from a distance away, as one breached clear out of the water at least twice as though it was literally showing us ‘Here I am’. As we slowly meandered towards it, the breaches changed to tail slaps, and then the pectoral fins, the side flippers were being slapped against the surface of the sea. As though a fire cracker was going off, the sound echoed across the Strait to reach our keenly listening ears.
On our afternoon tour, the highlight was the viewing of a Humpback whale named Freckles who was observed bubble-net feeding. It seems this whale has now also perfected the technique, with perfect bubble-net stitching seen on the surface of the water followed by the whale lunging up through the centre of the bubble-net while feasting, its mouth gaping wide open. Again and again we witnessed the bubble net sequence and the viewing was phenomenal!
It was a mix of weather today, overcast and patchy fog, but with a forest so lush with greens so rich, it seems though the sun is shining even on these cloudy days. The Western Hemlocks, Sitka Spruce and Western Red Cedar trees line the coastal islets, islands and mountains, like constant companions. The old man’s beard (lichen) hanging from the many branches add to the powerful feeling that everything has its place. In spring it is a delight to watch the many birds utilizing this lichen or dried seaweed or drift sticks, to use for their well-needed nest.
We sighted four Black-tailed deer during our tours out today, literally hundreds of Seals made it on our wildlife count and we had a beautiful passing of Dall’s Porpoise. The one thing that is truly delightful about fog is the beautiful silence it creates. It is as though the very mist of salt and water-vapour is acting like a blanket, softening all sounds. It encourages us to talk softly and quietly while we watch in awe the magic of this magnificent place.
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.