Birds, Whales and Wildlife
What began on our morning tour as a 'Mystery Tour' ended on a bright and sunny note on the afternoon tour!
Our passengers this morning were all psyched for their Mystery Tour in foggy conditions however, even though the air was very still and the sea calm, the fog dissipated early giving passengers some wondrous sights of islands partially covered by wisps of drifting fog that cleared even as they watched!
Dall's porpoises were seen on both tours to the delight of everyone as well as large numbers of Harbour seals. The mothers and their pups were hauled out on rocky outcrops and were intriguing to look at, their camouflaged bodies at times being hard to recognise, blending in so well with the kelp-covered rocks on which they lay resting.
The Humpback whales today were active and observed on both tours. Those on the morning tour enjoyed seeing a breach from a distance as well as tail slapping and foraging behaviour, while in the afternoon six Humpback whales were foraging back and forth in Blackfish Sound in a relatively small area. It was fabulous watching them from a distance with our engine off and listening for their blows coming from all directions.
We are noticing more bird species arriving into the area including increasing numbers of Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and Red-necked Phalaropes while in amongst the Stephenson Islands we were thrilled at seeing some Black Oyster Catchers who were easy to identify because of their unmistakable long and bright orange bills. The Bald Eagles we all admired, some of them were sitting in tall treetops, some were on their nests, and at one time, we glimpsed the tiny head of a young Eaglet.
Through the seasons that pass, generations of all species also pass and as we witness now in these early days of summer, another generation of young seal pups and eaglets making their way in the wild, we cannot help but feel a sense of wonder, joy and appreciation, each and every time we see them in this season of summer.
The tour home through the islands is always a treat and today with not a breath of wind and tranquil glassy waters, it could not have been better and was for some passengers onboard, the highlight of their entire holiday. How lucky are we who get to live and play here on the North Island!