Another amazing day of marine mammal viewing!

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September 15th

Today’s Sightings:

Humpback whales, Orcas, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Harbour porpoise, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Black-tailed deer, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Cassin’s Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Black Oystercatchers, Blue Herons and Common Murres.

Our backyard was a medley of activity and wonderful sightings of resident and transient animals that utilize the rich and abundant nutrients provided by the sea.

On a calm and sunny afternoon we meandered amongst the islands, through scenic passageways where the trees stood like guardians on either side of where we cruised. Bald Eagles kept their eyes upon us as we cruised by and Kingfishers swooped along the shore line, vocalizing to their mate that was only a few wing beats away.

The Sea Lions now dominate some areas of coastline as they have taken occupancy and are well moved in for the winter. Their grunts and groans will now be the constant companion for those who live remotely and nearby, away from the hustle and bustle of town.

During the afternoon, many Humpback whales friskily foraged, lunging within bait balls and filtering out the trapped water through their baleen plates. These curious sights of Humpback jaws, limbs and fins are such a delight for our visiting passengers to observe and attempt to photograph.

We had an unexpected visit by a resident pod of Orcas we don’t often encounter in these parts; the B’s. They were accompanied by the A34’s who travelled in the same vicinity. We know that as we move into the second half of September and particularly into October, the sightings of Orca will be less frequent. We are making the most of these magical moments because it will come a time when our resident Orcas will move on. July is a long time to wait for these magnificent animals to return.

How blessed and grateful we are to witness such rich delights and have the perfect weather to keep us warm, dry and comfortable.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

An amazing mix of species!

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September 14th

Our Sightings:

Humpback whales, Orca (Resident and Bigg’s Transient), Minke whales, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Black-tailed deer, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Black Oystercatchers and Common Murres.

It was a feeding frenzy out on the water today with a number of different species all coming together to feast upon the abundance offered by the sea. Orcas (23’s/A25’s) were mixed amongst Pacific White-sided dolphins and at one stage Stellar sea lions were in the midst of this group also.

The clear, bright weather and calm, ripple-less sea allowed us to sight Humpback whales from a long distance away. Blows were seen in all directions as well as some feeding behaviour as Humpbacks lunged through bait balls. We even viewed a Minke whale feeding on one of our tours which is not a common sighting. It lunged through a tight ball of fish, giving us a view of its uniquely shaped rostrum; the jaw of a whale.

Many birds species indulged in the ocean buffet today, filling the air with vibrant squawks and shrieks. It has been witnessed that birds can accidentally be taken in the jaws of a whale when birds find themselves at the top of a bait ball, with a whale lunging from just below the surface.  Birds being released unharmed from the jaws of the whale have also been observed.

Nature continues to fascinate and inspire.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

An unbelievable day of viewing!

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September 13th

Our Sightings:

Humpback whales, Orcas, Minke whales, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots and Common Murres.

A crisp, sunny, blue bird day was gifted us on this mid-September, two tour day.

After a few days of rain it is amazing how relieved we feel to have the sun resting upon our cheeks and turning the water into shimmering diamonds once again. Blue sky stretched for miles and the calm sea was a welcomed reprieve after a number of days of wind, rain and choppy waters.

Our morning tour was all about the Humpbacks and by afternoon the Orcas had arrived in to the area so we were able to witness the family dynamics between the three pods that transited the area. Although we had the familiar A23 and A25 pods in the area today, we were also privileged to witness a family that has not been in the area all season, the A34’s. It was lovely to see them traveling close together, swimming in unison.

The Sea Lions littered the rocks and stood out like lanterns as they were lit up by the sun, their tanned complexions brilliant and bright in the mid-day sun. Their vocals carried far across the water, reaching our eager and curious ears along with the puffs and blows of the smaller marine mammals of porpoises and dolphins transiting the area.

Birds feasted alongside the gentle giants of Humpbacks and the odd fishing boat cruised through the area in hope of catching their limit. We also had sightings of two Minke whales today! Everything was in order in this Northern Vancouver Island region and we were happy to be along for the ride.

Seasmoke Whale Watching photo’s have been taken by Dave Jones using a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

Orcas and Humpback whales were found amongst the waves today!

Sightings: Resident Orcas, Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals and some pups, Stellar sea lions, 3 Black-tailed deer (2 fawns and their mother), Bald Eagles and one Eaglet in a nest, Belted Kingfishers, Red-necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Black Oyster Catchers, Gull species and a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish.

It was a wild and windy day on a blue ocean and with the sun shinning bright, it was a gorgeous day to be out and about experiencing all that we did!  The Humpback whales were well dispersed with Conger and Ripple identified and in amongst the churning waves and current we could see their blows drift far and wide! Adding to the sights and sounds that accompanied us in the mix of wind and waves was herring ball activity and seabirds galore riding on the waves.
On the afternoon tour we were fortunate to find the two groups of Resident Orcas, the A30’s and I15’s (I4’s and I65’s) who had travelled in quickly through Weynton Passage and went east in Johnston Strait late in the morning but lingered in Blackney Passage where we observed them foraging. We also had a beautiful encounter with Ripple the Humpback whale as we made our way back home via Blackfish Sound.
The island waterways that we travelled through wore exquisite shades of green and golds and the water was the colour of emerald-green! Black-tailed deer were a special find for us today when we observed two small fawns still wearing their white spots and their mother we also glimpsed, camouflaged among the trees!
Photo’s have been taken by Robin Quirk using telephoto lens.
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An amazing encounter with Northern Resident Orcas and Humpback Whales!

 

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Our blog from September 29th, 2016

Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Ancient Murrelets, Sooty Shearwaters, White-winged Scoters, Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers and Gulls!

The afternoon tour was a fantastic surprise for everyone when an orca fin was sighted in the distance and so it was after hearing orca vocals via our hydrophone that we also got to see them. From their vocals (pinging sounds) we believe that it was G-Clan orcas, possibly I31s (the vocals that we heard) and our viewing was of some of the A34s who were spread out and foraging over a wide area.

Humpback Whales were also seen along with so much else and touring through the Plumper Islands was simply divine! It was an incredible afternoon, the weather was exquisite and the photo’s posted of the orcas show only a glimpse of what we all so enjoyed. Unbelievable and wondrous!

Photo credits: Hayley Shephard. Photo’s were cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.

Pure magic with Humpback Whales and bow-riding Porpoises in the morning and Orcas in the afternoon!

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Pacific White-sided Dolphins

Pacific White-sided Dolphins

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales, Resident Orcas, Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea lions (5 hauled out), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, one White-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Red-necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets.

What a day to be exploring the diversity of our local waters and the abundance of marine mammals and sea birds, all of them close to home port!  The morning tour had some wonderful viewing of Humpback Whales including a mother and her calf who were observed near the White Cliff Islands where the Coast Range Mountains of Mainland BC added greatly to the viewing experience of the area in which we tour. It was absolutely superb to sit back and allow the beauty reveal its magic to us! The bow-riding Dall’s Porpoises were fabulous, seeing them close-up and darting so happily back and forth alongside, was a highlight for us all to remember for a long while!

Our afternoon tour took on an adventure of its own when there was a report of a large group of Orcas heading east from the Queen Charlotte Strait where they had been sighted travelling east of Port Hardy. It was an amazing tour in which several Matrilines were observed. The Orcas identified were the A35s/A73 and her offspring A104, A34s, A42s, A24s and incoming C10s, it was a wonderful surprise to observe and identify them in the mix! There was a lot of socialization amongst the pods with spy-hops, tail slaps and beautiful A-Clan vocalizations heard via our hydrophone. Pacific White-sided dolphins were also seen and Humpback Whales on the way home.

What more can we say other than, it was a wonderful day and Pure Magic!

All photo credits: Muriel Halle.  All photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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It was a brilliant day of viewing numerous orcas including the A30 Matriline!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orca’s: A42s, A34s/A46, A25’s, A23s and A30s!  Harbour seals, Stellar sea lions, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Red-necked Phalaropes, California and Herring Gulls, Marbled Murrelets, Rhinoceros Auklets and Black Turnstones. There were also three Humpback Whales sighted on both of our tours.

It was an amazing day with a lot of wind and wave action and sunshine! The A5 orcas travelled in split groups with the A42s in the vicinity of the A34s/A46 in Blackfish Sound on the morning tour while the A23s/A25s travelled back in from the Queen Charlotte Strait (where they had travelled to earlier this morning) later this afternoon bringing with them, the A30 Matriline! It was a treat to see them all, along with the Humpback Whales.

A highlight on the morning tour was a young orca who treated us to multiple breaches (see photo) while on the afternoon tour a Humpback Whale caught our attention with numerous pectoral fin slaps. In calmer protected waters, we all enjoyed the antics of Harbour Seals ‘torpedoing’ through the bull kelp while chasing fish.

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.