It was a special day of viewing, a quiet and intimate one shared with three wonderful orcas enveloped in fog. Heavy fog blanketed Johnstone Strait again this morning when we headed out but it was not long before we were viewing harbour seals and gulls amongst the Stephensen Islands where the visibility was good. Orcas had earlier been reported traveling to the west off the bottom of Hanson Island but they later turned back to the east and we encountered them near Big Bay, A12 was swimming between the A36 brothers A37 (34 years) and A46 (29 years). It was mesmerizing watching their synchronized swimming as they surfaced and dived simultaneously, it was beautiful to watch. We found ourselves alone with the orcas when the other boats left and observed as they made their way slowly towards the bottom of Hanson Island, then waited while they took the route through the narrow passage that separates Hanson Island from Little Hanson Island. From the other side we waited, watching as they came through the pass and out into Blackfish Sound which was also blanketed in heavy fog; a group of Stellar Sea Lions were also seen swimming along the Hanson Island shoreline at the same time. The orcas continued swimming slowly, this time against the flood current, a 68 year old matiarch with her two adopted sons, it was a very special viewing. On our way home a small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins joined us briefly at the bow of the boat and then left to forage. Other sightings included: dalls porpoises, rhinoceros auklets, common murres+++, herring, california and mew gulls, belted kingfishers and bald eagles.
Sunset with the ferry coming into Alert Bay.