River Otters, Humpback Whales and bow-riding Dalls Porpoises ~ a fabulous day on the water!
The day began with the viewing of two juvenile river otters who were playing on the dock at Alder Bay and some passengers waited patiently for them to leap back into the water before they proceeded to board the boat. It was a great viewing and delight for all of us watching the otters playful antics. We made our way slowly through Weynton Passage in the fog enjoying the sights of hauled out harbour seals and birdlife on the Stephenson Islands and as the tide was low we were able to get a good look at some bright purple ochre sea stars and red sea urchins clinging to a rocky shoreline, their colours were vibrant and beautiful as compared to the sombre colours of the kelp forests and shoreline obscured from sunshine by the fog. Dall's porpoises joined us riding at the bow of the boat and soon after we encountered a humpback whale and then again dall's porpoises were among us and also around the humpback whale. Darting back and forth, they were exciting and fun to be with and while having them draw alongside, their faces seemed to be smiling up at us. A second humpback whale was heard close by but as we watched the porpoises, we lost track of it and the other humpback whale in the fog; a third humpback we saw briefly down near Flower Island. Travelling back through the Plumper Islands we broke out into brilliant sunshine and enjoyed the sight of gorgeous scenery and seeing a fog bank clearing quickly in Johnstone Strait. In Cormorant Channel near Alert Bay a minke whale was sighted which was fabulous to see. Also seen: rhinoceros auklets, common murres, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, marbled murrelets, glaucous-winged and herring gulls.
Today's penned comments: Hauntingly beautiful sailing through mists. Otters welcomed us at Alder Bay and seals basked on the rocks overlooking kelp beds. As the tide recedes we delight at the purples, pink and green hues of the rocky outcrops lined with sea urchins and starfish. We pass through deep clear waters of swirling currents and kelp emerging from below. Excitement as a school of porpoise leap and dive and play and race us. Overhead the eagles soar. At last we hear the sound of a blow. It's a huge beautiful humpback whale, rising, going under, rising, going under, more and more and then the final dive and the moment we all await as the tail rises up and then descends into the cold blue. Our hosts Maureen and Dave attend to our every whim and are extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We are all grateful for the warm weather gear and freshly baked muffins and hot drinks. Late morning we were treated with lifting fog and see the paradise of islands, mountains, forests and abundant birdlife surrounding us. To top it all, another sighting – this time an elusive Minke Whale!
Alicia and Danny ~ Australia and Kat ~ Czech Republic