A brilliant day for whale watching and the Alert Bay 11th Annual 360 Eco Paddle
This morning the fog cleared early well ahead of our morning tour departure and the start of the 11th Annual Alert Bay 360 Eco Paddle (a kayak race around Cormorant Island), in which there were 163 people participating in the race!
It was a glorious day for whale watching with our first sighting of orcas near Kaikash. We encountered A5 orcas, the A23's foraging west along the Vancouver Island shoreline while the A25's were keeping pace on the Hanson Island shore, both groups were travelling west in Johnstone Strait. It was an early sighting and our passengers were thrilled especially while listening to their A-Clan vocalisations. Leaving the orcas we headed into Blackfish Sound where fog still lingered and was fortunate to see two Humpback whales feeding.
During the afternoon tour we experienced a mix of sun and fog as the damp thick marine layer drifted in from the West and covered all sights of land.
Thankfully we had already located the orcas which were traveling in a tight group in the direction of the fog; one lone male foraged within the bull kelp close to one of the islets in Weynton Passage. It did not take long for the fog to drift in and completely take away all visibility. To keep track of the orcas we had to shut down our engines and listen to their breath as they surfaced in unison. At one stage we lost them completely and decided it was our cue to move on.
While slowly navigating in the fog aiming towards the picturesque Plumper Islands, a group of Pacific White-sided dolphins suddenly appeared, swimming at fairly high speeds which caused their bodies to porpoise out of the water. It was a sweet surprise as was the single Humpback that surfaced nearby as we drifted on the glassy calm sea, now under the strong rays of sunshine.
Other species in the mix today included: Dall's Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked phalaropes, Bald Eagles and many colourful kayaks and eager paddlers.