Orcas ~ the I15's with fabulous viewing and two humpback whales!
How wonderful was our day and yet how difficult it is to describe just how truly wonderful it was! When we left the dock at Alder Bay this morning the fog was thick in our surroundings, we had visibility of a few hundred metres in the beginning which lessened as we made our way through Weynton Passage viewing harbour seals and stellar sea lions along the way. We were also very fortunate to see a pair of dall's porpoise, a mother and her calf porpoising to an area where they stopped to feed, whereby the markings of white on their bodies were easily visible as opposed to when we see them foraging. We received a report that orcas had been faintly heard via a hydrophone near Bold Head and so we headed initially in that direction and then towards Donegal Head when suddenly a tall orca fin came into our view through the fog! It was wonderful to see this male orca as he foraged nearby, passing on his way in the direction of Donegal Head. And then, as more orcas began appearing through the fog it was exciting, especially while drifting in the current that was nearing slack, and with our engine off, a group of three made their way towards us, passing under the boat. With our hydrophone deployed we began hearing some G-Clan calls and recognized that we were with the I15 Matrillines!
The orcas were well spread out and as the fog diminished in Weynton Passage, we could better see the Matriarches as they made their way towards Johnstone Strait, some groups taking a wider path through Weynton Passage by taking the NW side of Stubbs Island. How wonderful when a group of three once more came under our boat, gliding alongside the deep keel in curiosity it seemed. It was incredible and amazing to see them in that moment of time, appearing so close as we looked on down mesmerized by their beauty and contrasting colours of black and white, sleek and graceful passing on by, we were all so grateful and happy!
We watched the orcas moving into Johnstone Strait just as the flooding current began picking up its pace pushing them onward while listening once more to their beautiful calls via our hydrophone. All the while we were aware of two humpback whales in our near vicinity and watched as one worked back and forth where diving birds had gathered. It was an amazing day with exceptional viewing of orcas and where their blows were heard even when we could not see them in the fog, adding so much mystery and excitement to the tour! Also seen: bald eagles, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pelagic cormorants, great blue herons and belted kingfishers and gull species.
Today's penned comments: "A wonderful amazing day we have experienced. The orcas got really close, swam under the boat and that was really great. The best we have ever seen!" Martin, Michi, Marcus and Lucas, Austria
"This is my first time in Canada and this has been the highlight of the trip for me. The Devonshire cream tea was a really nice touch thank you. We have had a fantastic trip." Susan and Colin, Devon, England
"We had a breathtaking trip, thanks to the crew! Orcas next to our boat, we could not decide where to look. We will never forget this unique experience. Thank you for turning this foggy day into a 'sunny day'!" Reinhard, Borlies, Gerals & Webe, Germany
"Thanks for a truly wonderful experience into the magical mystery mist ~ orcas swimming under your boat. Great scones on board." Janet, UK