A Big Surprise
Our tour departed in low cloud and a light drizzle of gentle rain. Although there was dampness in the air, the sea was smooth without a single ripple which made for a comfortable ride.
After picking up our guests in both Alert Bay and Alder Bay we set off in a westerly direction in search of a group of Orca that had been seen off the backside of Malcolm Island. It did not take long for black dorsal fins and small blows to appear on the horizon.
At this time of year it is the Transient (Biggs) Orca that we mainly see, as the residents have yet to arrive to feed on salmon, and so at first we all assumed they were Transients. After a closer look through binoculars, we noticed an obvious curve to the dorsal fins rather than a sharp point which we see with Transients. We were in the company of Northern Resident Orca. What a surprise to see residents this far south so early in the season. The locals were thrilled including a researcher who identified them as the D12 group. This small family group made up of mainly males, looked as though they had been resting, as one individual drifted, suspended at the surface on the salty sea.
After a wonderful encounter with our local Orcas, we continued in search of other critters to show our guests. Three Humpbacks whales were seen foraging, diving deep and lifting their tales high enough for all of us to get the dream photo.
We are already seeing signs of Bald Eagles being good parents as they diligently sit atop large nests with eggs or recently hatched chicks buried in the warmth below them.
Stellar Sea lions continue to patrol the waters alongside reefs, islands and rocks and the Harbour seals lazed in the late afternoon sun which had burned away the rain.
A Big Surprise to see Resident Orca which made for a fabulous day.