Moulting Harbour seals, Orcas, Humpback Whales and so much more!
Today's sightings: Orca, Humpback whales, Dall's porpoise, Harbour seals, Stellar Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Common Murres, Rhinoceros and Cassins Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, Red-necked Phalaropes, Great Blue Herons and Gull species.
Today was the kind of day that would literally bring tears to your eyes. Even locals who have lived here all their lives would gasp and grin at the beauty that surrounded our day. Blue sky and wispy clouds stretched far across the sky and the tranquil, calm and silent sea was like glass. Everything glistened as the sun's rays touched on the earth ever so gently.
As we cruised slowly and carefully passed exposed rocks formed by the dropping tide, Harbour seals balanced liked bananas, their entire bodies clear from the water. We noticed an unusual pattern on their coat today and after a closer look through binoculars we realised they were moulting.
Every year after the breeding season, Harbour seals experience a catastrophic moult. During this one to two month process, they literally lose sheets of hair. They also lose some of their ability to retain heat. They spend more time out of the water than in therefore their feeding is also limited. It is a stressful time for seals and it is crucially important that we give them the space they need. Getting too close and scaring them into the water is energy they cannot afford to waste.
The Orcas we saw on both of our tours today were the A30's, we also saw the I15's and some of the I31's on our afternoon tour. The A30's are the true local residents we see more frequently than any other pod. As they surfaced their deep black curved fins shimmered as the sun touched on the water drenched covered dorsal. They are a beautiful family to watch with such a variety of males to females, age and size. When traveling together side by side in a resting line, it genuinely makes the observer hold their breath in awe at this mesmerizing and touching scene.
Spectacular behaviours were observed today. We saw spyhops as orcas rose to the surface, head first, to get a bearing of their surroundings with their eyes. We even watched a beautiful black n white breach. This is not as common seeing an orca breach as it is to see a Humpback breach.
Humpback whale flukes were stunning to photograph today as the sun kissed these massive tails as they rose high out of the water. Every creature we saw was on the hunt for salmon. Dall's porpoises were in pursuit as well as Sea Lions. One Stellar Sea Lion was successful with a catch and we had the chance to watch the next stage of the hunt. The Sea Lion thrashed the salmon about; using its strong jaw to flip it left then right in the attempt of removing the salmons head from its body.
Welcome to the wild-west coast of BC Canada where the action and beauty never ends!
Seasmoke Whale Watching photo's were taken with telephoto lens and have been cropped.