Blessed by Glorious Orca's

September is truly a beautiful month to visit Northern Vancouver Island. Even as summer slowly drifts away from us with darkness coming earlier and the coolness in the early morning air, the wildlife simply multiply.

When we think that the Stellar sea lions have all arrived and every piece of rock within their haul-out areas are all taken, more seem to arrive. The odor of all these males, gathered on the same rock or two is potently overwhelming. If the wind is blowing from their direction towards us, we literally smell them from miles away.

Today we saw a delightful passing of Northern Resident Orca with Humpbacks. Two species of whales in close proximity to eachother, sharing in the abundant space of the ocean without any competition or aggression, is a marvelous sight to witness. As the I4’s. I27, I16 and I35’s traveled in from the west, passing the Eastern corner of Malcoim Island they passed by at least six humpbacks who foraged in Wheynton Passage. Dall’s porpoise where amongst them and at times the residents formed resting lines which can at times create playful activity from the younger members of the pod. Like any toddler who defies the belief that it is time for bed,simply play up, whether that be with pillow fights or tantrums, spyhops or tail slaps. It was magical to watch these magnificent animals display behaviour that comes so naturally by their authentic social nature.

As our journey was winding down and our bow was pointed towards home, another marine mammal was sighted, one that has been rare this summer. A Minke whale was in the vicinity of Alder Bay, the smallest Baleen whale that exists. We finally discovered through a local researcher that we have resident Minke’s that stay in these waters all year round. Simple ID photographs give us this important information and data.

Along with the shorter, cooler days is the migration of birds. Already Canada Geese have started their journey south and soon we may expect to see birds on route to places as far as New Zealand. While the seabirds migrate, some of our local birds like the Common Murre and Rhinoceros Auklets grow in massive numbers, making our inside waters come alive with sound and the appearance of a freckled ocean, dotted with birds sitting on the sea waiting for a bait ball to pass by.

And while the ocean comes alive, the small Northern towns start to quieten as visitors journey home, back to their world of school, work and home-life after an adventure in paradise.

Hayley ShephardComment