Fabulous sailing with the A30 Orcas & a Humpback Whale

IMG_6712 IMG_6669 IMG_6659 IMG_6645 IMG_6639 IMG_6638 IMG_6637 IMG_6631 IMG_6619 IMG_6588 IMG_6586 IMG_6576 What a great day we had, unbelievably so with the weather forecast predicting a 90% chance of rain which should have been wind, as wind we had but not rain! In fact we had a beautiful day with a strong south-easterly wind blowing and sunshine. The A30 matriline were again this morning foraging off Blackney Passage when we arrived and the flooding current and se winds in Blackney Passage had whipped up white-caps and whirlpools and it was on the edge of this raging waterway that A38 was foraging while A50 and A54 and calves were taking long dives, surfacing also at the edge of the heavy flooding current while A39 had passed us foraging to the west along the Hanson Island shoreline. Adding to the excitement of it all was a humpback whale also feeding in the middle of Blackney Passage and shortly after we arrived and while waiting for the orcas to surface, the whale (Freckles) suddenly surfaced off the stern of our boat much to the astonishment and delight of everyone. And so began a fabulous sail back and forth in Blackney Passage with our mainsail reefed, maintaining a comfortable ride that energized all of us as we sat mesmerized watching in all directions, the orcas who were fully focussed in feeding.  They were also unperturbed, by our presence, surfacing close-by often after a long dive, over and over again, foraging intensely, we watched intrigued as they lunged after their prey of spring salmon. As a cruise ship approached Blackney Passage with caution, we watched as it navigated its way mid-strait through the Pass, the Orcas diving deep while the Humpback Whale continued with its dive sequence on the starboard side of the ship. Throughout our entire viewing time with the orcas we sailed, we also trailed behind us our hydrophone and listened to their clear and wonderful A-Clan calls and also echolocations when they came nearer to the boat. Up in Weynton Passage two more Humpback Whales were sighted, initially from a distance but also near in passing by us before we headed for home. It was a fabulous and unforgettable day of "sailing with the whales" for everyone on board! Also seen: Harbour Seals, Dalls Porpoises interacting with the Orcas in Blackney Passage, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots, NBelted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Ruddy Turnstones, Bald Eagles and Gulls ++