Sightings: Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, Harbour seals, Stellar sea lions, Mink, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Marbled Murrelets, Common Murres, Red Necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.
This morning’s tour was one of exploration. The limited visibility due to the dense fog certainly made us work hard to find critters. We island hopped and transited narrow passages to offer our guests the opportunity to view the animals that are seen closer to shore. The Harbour seals rested on exposed rocks that appeared like gravestones above the sea and gulls sat above them, distinctly white in contrast. Against the soft grey backdrop and mist-clouded trees, the Bald Eagles’ large frame looked like a mere shadow.
When arriving to areas known for Humpbacks, we stopped, shut down the engines and listened in the eerie silence. After two stops and not a single sound of a surfacing whale we decided to cross Blackfish sound using our instruments to navigate. Finally a loud, thunderous blow was heard as a Humpback rose to the surface and emptied its lungs completely of air and filled them right up again. This Humpback was identified as Moonstar and was actually feeding. On a couple of occasions Moonstar appeared jaw first out of the water to scoop up a loose school of bait fish, the perfect meal for a Humpback.
At the edge of the fog Dall’s porpoise were seen traveling. A lone Stellar Sea Lion feasted on a salmon carcass and more Humpbacks were seen as the fog lifted. Of added interest and surprise we watched as 5 – 6 mink scrambled out of the water and up onto shore on one of the islands!
Some days we have to work hard to find whales as we toil with the dynamics and spontaneous balance of ocean, tides, weather and wildlife. It is a gift when in these challenging conditions we find success and we are grateful.
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.