A fabulous tour of Cetaceans and Birds galore!
It all began this morning when we headed out on tour with many passengers wishful and hoping to see orcas. This wishful thinking is but a wish because we cannot (and do not) guarantee that orcas will be seen on any given tour. Our surrounding waters hold the key to their summertime feasting on salmon (mostly Spring aka Chinook) and we are fortunate in sharing their journey throughout our summer season, in the local waters of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. These waters are open and free to all Cetaceans and Resident and Biggs Transient Orcas are not alone when they come to feed.
Today was no exception and our passengers were thrilled beyond all expectations at seeing so many species feeding together. Beginning with Harbour seals hauled out on rocky outcrops, Bald Eagles in flight and sitting high on treetops, Resident Orcas, Dalls Porpoises, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Stellar Sea lions, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Sooty Shearwaters and Gull Species; all gathered in a relatively small body of water that is presently abundant with feed for all of them.
It is an incredible thought to ponder and something that can easily be taken for granted. Food is the energy that sustains our human lives as well and the loss of just one species, for example salmon, will mean the loss of many species as the web of life reaches far beyond these precious waters and forests beyond. Some species seen today travel to other parts of the world i.e: the Sooty shearwaters passing through our waters are on their way back to islands off the South Island of New Zealand. They have a huge flight ahead of them before they reach their summer breeding grounds and nesting burrows. Having spent the summer months gorging on herring off the coast of Alaska, in September they literally drop from the sky where they stop briefly to feed alongside the Humpback Whales and other seabirds in our backyard waterways.
The orcas, A42’s and I15’s we observed today were foraging while travelling, spread across Blackfish Sound. Amongst them were seen Dall’s porpoises as well as some 50+ Pacific White-sided dolphins. The dolphins were playful in their harassment of the Orcas, who tried as best they could to avoid the pesky dolphins by taking long deep dives. Meanwhile some 4 or more Humpback Whales were seen feeding in Weynton Passage while large numbers of sea lions were viewed hauled out and languishing on large boulders as well, many were seen swimming amongst kelp forests close to adjacent shorelines.
The rain held off and was only noticed in the last 30 minutes as a gentle drizzle. How lucky were we to see so much, so close to home. In the words of one passenger today: “ It was the highlight of our trip to Canada! We saw ORCAS and so many different animals. Such a great experience we’ll remember forever! Thank you!”