A phenomenal tour! Resident and Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales and Pacific white-sided Dolphins+++!
It was yet another remarkable day out on the water viewing Cetaceans but today had an added energy and momentum with the early sighting of Biggs (Transient Orcas) travelling our way. With the SE wind blowing and our mainsail hoisted it was near Beaver Cove that we encountered the T060's, the Matriarch T60 with her four off-spring T60C, T60D, T60E and T60F travelling with T002B (1 orca), they were identified by Jared Towers (DFO). While a large group of pacific white-sided dolphins went racing past Alert Bay at 8: 00 a.m. this morning, it was likely the same group that came racing back our way, travelling quickly they suddenly emerged through the flooding current running out off Pearse Passage, a humpback whale was also seen fluking off Lewis Point just ahead of the approaching orcas. The orcas looked to be slowing and stalling while the dolphins crowded towards the shoreline of the Pearse Islands and then suddenly mid-strait the orcas surfaced again and high powered porpoising activity++ was seen with dolphins among them. The pace and momentum was precise and deadly, and soon unbelievably the orcas were grouping nearby our boat surprising us, swimming directly under our boat back and forth, there were no dolphins seen at this point meanwhile the large group of 100++ dolphins had headed out through Weynton Passage.
Leaving the Bigg's (Transient) Orcas, we travelled out through Weynton Passage, watching a humpback whale feeding near the Stephenson Islands as we passed through and soon we could see resident orcas travelling towards us, they were the I15's and as we watched they made their way surprisingly slowly, even though the current was flooding. How beautiful it was seeing them in this relaxed manner and even when they entered the choppy waters of Johnstone Strait, they still moved relatively slowly with the flooding current pushing them east at a seemingly relaxed pace!
There were humpback whales feeding intensely, with clouds of gulls circling above them while common murres++ and also rhinoceros auklets were feeding from depths below, at one point we saw four humpback whales feeding in multiples of two and 'Guardian' once more was amongst them! The SE winds were still blowing as we sailed with our stay-sail homeward bound. What a day and tour, charged with energy as dolphins and orcas (transients and residents) and humpback whales, made their way in the wild as nature intended for them to do. The reality of 'wild' we witnessed today, and while some dolphins undoubtably perished, so many more survived, as did the T60's/T002, feeding as all species need to do (humans included) in order to survive. Also seen: dall's porpoises, harbour seals, stellar sea lions, belted kingfishers, marbled murrelets and gull species.
**For some reason we have been unable to download anymore photo's from today's tour from our camera. We will attempt to do so tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
Today's penned comments: "We had a wonderful trip. Thanks so much!" William and Jenny, Seattle
"We saw so many animals! Orcas, Humpback, Seals and Sea Lions! Wonderful! We never expected it! " Monika and Joseph, Germany