Magic was at play with us again today ~ Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall's Porpoises, Stellar Sea Lions, a Sea Otter and a family of River Otters!
It was a fantastic day to be out on the water viewing a myriad of marine mammals of all shapes and sizes! The weather was superb where the glorious colour of blue was with us, if not following us, all day long! With our passengers arriving early we headed out this morning and were soon in sight of orcas well ahead of serving our fresh baked muffins, tea, coffee and hot chocolate! It was incredible viewing as the A42's were suddenly seen surfacing nearby and passing us and continuing on further west. We were a distance out from the Wastel Islets and could see orcas along the Vancouver Island shoreline and more orcas crossing Weynton Passage on the other side of Johnstone Strait. The A42's slowed their pace and we listened to some beautiful A & also G-Clan vocals and echolocations via our hydrophone. It was a busy morning as humpback whale blows could also be seen rising in Weynton Passage and we saw several dall's porpoises darting around a humpback whale, some passengers also saw a humpback whale breaching! The orcas having passed us, we suddenly realized that they had made a turn at 'Turn Point' and the A42's were headed back towards us while the I15's and rest of the A5's who were travelling together yet spread far apart, were also now all turning back to the east.
We made our way over to where a humpback whale had earlier been observed, and soon found ourselves amongst a group of dall's porpoises who joined us, riding at our bow. It was fabulous and exciting to watch the porpoises darting back and forth around us. Meanwhile Biggs Transient Orcas, the T10's had been reported travelling along the Vancouver shoreline, travelling to the west, while the resident orcas continued travelling east along the same shoreline. The T10's are made up of a Matriarch T10 and her two sons T10B and T10C. As we went by Weynton Island we encountered a humpback whale lolling about in a reef where a kelp forest flourished and we so enjoyed watching as she rolled about with some stellar sea lions, we could see part of her fluke, a pectoral fin and also her dorsal fin and could identify her as being Guardian, a humpback whale who has been in the area for most of the summer.
Some of the resident orcas were trailing far behind us while the rest stayed along the Vancouver Island shoreline and then it was reported that the T10's had crossed over to the Hanson Island shoreline, travelling slowly. T10 we observed was swimming in the middle of her two sons, they were relaxed and carried on past dall's porpoises feeding nearby, harbour seals and sea lions and also Guardian who happened to travel towards them along the Hanson Island shoreline. The orcas took a long dive and surfaced well behind Guardian while she carried on unperturbed to the east. Just when we thought it could not get any better, we came upon a sea otter, likely the one that had been reported in the area, and suddenly there it was bobbing and rolling around and around! It was wonderful to watch this otter, it was seemingly very relaxed and swimming in the middle of Johnstone Strait!
With resident orcas going east and Biggs Transients going west, we made our way to view Stellar Sea Lions hauled out. It was very sad seeing a single sea lion alone on a rock with a fishing flasher hooked to its mouth. It looked emaciated and its aloneness made us feel concerned for its wellbeing. Seeing marine mammals in this manner, caught with fishing debris, plastics, netting and rope is a reality of our oceans and sadly it is the marine life (mammals, fish and birds) who suffer the deadly consequences. All is not well and beautiful in the oceans in which we ply!
**Please note that this incident has been reported to the Vancouver Aquarium by our guests onboard today ~ Erin, Mayumi and Dounia in the hope that something can be done to help this helpless and suffering individual.
Finally, after viewing harbour seals and bald eagles, a family of river otters lying in the sun on the dock in Alder Bay delighted all of us. How wonderful was our day! Also seen: red-necked phalaropes, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, marbled murrelets, belted kingfishers, a great blue heron and gull species.
Today's penned comments:" Always fun. Very good viewing and a very relaxing trip. You can see it all on the Seasmoke!!!" Fred and Ria, Belgium
"Thanks for this fantastic experience! We had a lot of fun and your excellent scones are the cherry on the cake!!" Carine & Frederique, Switzerland
"This has been such a wonderful day out on the water. Close encounters with orca pods, a humpback whale, dall's porpoises, a sea otter, sea lions and seals.....just beautiful. Thanks Dave and Maureen for such a special experience with your own lovely personal touch." Erin, Dounia and Mayumi, Australia and Switzerland. "Adding to that ~ I have wanted to see orcas for the longest time. Thank you for delivering! I may have even shed a quiet little tear. I wish I'd found you folks earlier, I might have asked if I could learn the ropes. Thanks so much. It's lovely to see how passionate you are about the animals. Thank you also for the best scones outside of Australia!" Erin