Wonderful I15’s and A36 brothers, humpback whales and sunshine!

What a grand day we had! The weather was glorious with a glassy sky blue sea and not a breath of wind, it was absolutely gorgeous out there! This morning we crossed the open bottom of George Passage seeing numerous humpback whales en route to viewing orcas. As the orcas were all spread apart and foraging, we saw part of the I15’s as well the A36 brothers. While viewing them, with our hydrophone deployed we could listen to their foraging echolocation’s as well as some exquisite G and A-Clan calls! Also seen today: harbour seals, dall’s porpoises, red-necked phalaropes, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels, bait balls and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: We spent a truly magical morning onboard Tuan. We left Alert Bay under beautiful blue skies and travelled across glassy calm water on our whale watching adventure. Our first sighting was a humpback whale, pectoral fin extended up into the air, all 15 feet of it waving back and forth. Next, dall’s porpoises and then the orcas. Ten whales close-by, surfacing, tail lobbing and feeding on the abundant salmon. Our thanks go to captain Dave, Maureen for her delicious baking and to Mat the first mate. See you next year.                                      ~ Shonna and Kate, Denman Island, BC

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Orcas this morning and two Minke plus Humpback Whales this afternoon with brilliant sightings!

“It was another amazing day of sunshine, hot temperatures and calm waters on the North Island! Today we have had an incredible day with two tours, each of them so different from one another. This morning had us heading out into the Queen Charlotte Strait where orcas were reported heading north towards the Penfold Islets and then towards the Foster Islands and beyond, they were moving steadily West, the A36 brothers were in the mix with the I15’s well ahead of them all.  On the afternoon tour we enjoyed some fantastic viewing of a minke whale (Bolt) soon after departing from Alert Bay and afterwards we carried on out into Blackfish Sound where we encountered two humpback whales with three more seen at a distance, one of whom was Ripple with her new calf. A second minke whale was also seen on the way home. It was an incredible afternoon that we all enjoyed with some wonderful sightings of marine life punctuated with scenic cruising through beautiful island waterways. Also seen today: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels, a great blue heron, bald eagles ++ as well, two eaglets almost ready to vacate their nest, gull species and belted kingfishers.

Today’s penned comments: “It was an amazing day with you two! Thank you so much for seeing whales and all the other animals. The catering was FANTASTIC. TC and best wishes” ~Rico and Kathi, Germany

“Wonderful trip – so informative and a successful viewing of whales. Brilliant scones and muffins. Thank you” ~Cathy from Whitstable, a fishing village in Kent, England.

“Salt air, sunshine, sea breeze, magical creatures, spectacular scenery. Knowledgeable friendly guides, delicious food. Happy people. Unbelievable. Very grateful! Paradise!! A MILLION THANKS!” ~ Leslie Sayer, Burnaby, BC

“Thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon! We saw minke and humpbacks as well as many seabirds, eagles and seals. Matt was a wealth of information on all of the above – very personable and helpful. Muffins, scones and tea were delicious! “~ Claire & Cindy Susut  IMG_0335 IMG_0339IMG_0331 IMG_0338 IMG_0358 IMG_0348 IMG_0347 IMG_0343 IMG_0342 IMG_0369 IMG_0371 IMG_0389 IMG_0403 IMG_0408 IMG_0334

 

Orcas, Humpback Whales and two Minke Whales ~ an amazing day!

It was another beautiful sunny day on the water and there was much cetacean activity in our local waters to enjoy. Two minke whales were seen en route to Donegal Head this morning prior to our meeting up with the I15’s who were travelling in quickly with the flooding current along the north shoreline of Malcolm Island, two humpback whales were also seen in Blackfish Sound. The orcas (I15’s) took the Weynton Passage route into Johnstone Strait and we waited, observing them as they entered the Strait and then travelled back towards Alder Bay while viewing the A23’s, A25’s and A36’s who had travelled west in Johnstone Strait!  On our afternoon tour passengers enjoyed viewing some of the I15’s along with the A25’s and A23’s, all of them were seen making their way east in Johnstone Strait. It was a busy day for the orcas who were spending a lot of their time and energy travelling++ up and down the Strait in the midst of a commercial fishery. Also seen today: harlequin ducks, cassins and rhinoceros auklets, storm petrels, common murres, dall’s porpoises, stellar sea lions, harbour seals, gull species, bald eagles++ and two eaglets on branches above the nest, moving about while a parent was also observed bringing a fish and landing with it in the nest.

Today’s penned comments: ” Far exceeded our expectations and hopes! What an exciting trip, could recommend it to anybody. Thanks!” ~ M. van der Kam, Netherlands

“Thanks for a lovely afternoon. We enjoyed seeing the whales and other wildlife.” ~ Nicole and Rob. Victoria, BC

“Had a great afternoon and saw a whole bunch of orcas. Mama and baby orca! Amazing scenery, a beautiful place. Thanks for tea/coffee and snacks. We especially liked to go out on a sailboat compared to the typical ‘zodiac’ whale watching boats. Would recommend it to everybody” ~ Anna-Maria & Bernadette, GermanyIMG_9188 IMG_9575 IMG_9960 IMG_0260 IMG_0264 IMG_0271 IMG_0279 IMG_0307 IMG_0314 IMG_0326 IMG_0328 IMG_0083 IMG_0257

Large gathering of Resident Orcas: A42’s, R4’s, A36 brothers, I15’s & two Humpback Whales!

It was an absolutely amazing day of viewing orcas beginning early on in our tour with the A42’s, they passed us as they raced up the Hanson Island side of Johnstone Strait, they were moving quickly in the ebbing current and reaching the top end off Weynton Island they spread out and began foraging further west in Johnstone Strait. All of the other groups the A, G and R Clans were also travelling to the west in Johnstone Strait but more slowly and almost parallel to one another. The I15’s were across on the Vancouver Island shoreline, the A36 brothers were centre Strait while the R4’s took the Hanson side of the Strait. We enjoyed some wonderful viewing of the R4’s, they were travelling altogether in line sequence and were beautiful to watch, their synchronized surfacing and diving movements were mesmerizing. The tall dorsal fins of R4’s four sons were striking to look at, visually their impact was awesome for all of us watching, their combined beauty and grace was magnificent! Next came the A36 brothers with A37 (Plumper) in the lead, he was 500 m ahead of his brother A46 (Kaikash), who travelled directly in line behind his older brother.  After they had gone by we waited, drifting with our engine off, for the I15’s who had also begun crossing the Strait, and with our hydrophone deployed, we listened for calls but did not hear any, they were silent. We could not believe our luck when the I15’s came towards us, some passing off the stern, cruising alongside looking upwards at some of our passengers, others passed directly under the boat. We all watched spellbound, watching as they carried on into Weynton Passage quickly in the ebbing current. We ourselves travelled also through Weynton Passage and it was off the Plumper Islands in Blackfish Sound that we enjoyed viewing two humpback whales, one of whom was Argonaut! It was a brilliant day with three Clans of orcas being present as well as: humpback whales, dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, black oyster catchers, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, belted kingfishers, pigeon guillemots, black turnstones, bald eagles.

Today’s penned comments: What a wonderful time we had on the Seasmoke. Everything was amazing from the weather, the animals,the company, the especially delicious home-made muffins and yummy steaming scones. What a nice touch. We saw so many animals, eagles, seals, seabirds, many different families of orcas and to top it off at the tail end of the trip we saw some humpbacks too! We booked in advance and are glad we did! We will be back next year! Thank you for welcoming our family and making us feel at home, cozied up in a blanket and all. ~ Kathryn Schoenhals, Houston Texas/ Calgary

Such an amazing day!! This was our third day out on the water here and you guys were by far the best tour company we went with! It was nice to be on a smaller , less crowded boat and the tea and scones was a wonderful personal touch. I just launched a non-profit animal protection project that focuses on stopping whaling and marine captivity. So excited to take back amazing photo’s to hopefully inspire people to help orcas here and in captivity. Check us out: http://www.leviathanproject.us   Thanks again! ~ Jillian and Aaron, LA, USA

There are no words to describe this experience. Orcas, humpbacks, seals, eagles, wonderful environment with the mountains and clear waters. I am speechless before this magical moment. Thank you for this amazing day, I will never forget. I am deeply moved by this beauty. ~ Annie, Montreal.

Wonderful Day! I can’t believe I had the opportunity to see all of this beauty. I will never forget these beautiful orcas andhumpbacks I saw…they are the most  beautiful animals on EARTH!! Thank you. ~ Catherine, MontrealIMG_8909

R4's

R4’s

R4's

R4’s

R4's

R4’s

A37 ~ Plumper

A37 ~ Plumper

A37 ~ Plumper

A37 ~ Plumper

A46 ~ Kaikash

A46 ~ Kaikash

!15's

I15’s

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A66

A66

Resident Orcas ~ numerous pods in the area as well as humpback whales ~a fabulous day of viewing!

It was an incredible day and one cannot help but feel excited to welcome and witness more pods of orcas returning into our local marine waters as summer progresses! Today was an extraordinary day of sunshine with beautiful blue seas and sky and high temperatures on both the land and sea, here on the North Island, with numerous cetaceans being sighted. How incredible it was to arrive at Blackney Passage just as several family groups of orcas started to make their way back into Johnstone Strait, having spent most of the night in the vicinity of Blackfish Sound. With our hydrophone deployed we were fortunate to hear some G-Clan calls when the I15’s entered into the Strait, altogether it was like a brilliant orchestrated flow of dorsal fins, and so beautiful to watch the flow! The A5’s entered (A23’s), the I15’s next and also the beloved A36 brothers Plumper and Kaikash, the A25’s following the same pathway as the A23’s and then the A42’s! We enjoyed watching pectoral and tail slapping as well a small group as they foraged close along the Cracroft Island shoreline. We watched in awe their passing, our senses filled to overflowing when pectoral slapping could also be heard on our hydrophone and then quietly, they all began travelling east, crossing the Strait in the direction of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, an excited return with much socializing together ahead for them all! We turned up into Blackfish Sound and nearing the top end we encountered a humpback whale and a second (with possibly a third) was also seen in the flooding current in Weynton Passage. Also seen today: Harbour seals, dall’s porpoises, stellar sea lions, rhinoceros auklets++, common murres, marbled murrelets, bald eagles, a great blue herton, belted kingfishers++, glaucous-winged gulls and herring gulls.

Today’s penned comments: “We are sailors and especially like the idea of taking a whale watching tour from a sailing yacht rather than a powerboat. Our hostess was very knowledgeable and spent most of the trip telling us the maritime history of the area, plus the history of whales in the area. For instance, we did not realize that there are distinct types of orcas and the feeding patterns are different and the ‘transient’ orcas eat more of a variety of marine mammals whereas the ‘residents’ focus on salmon.  She also explained about the return of humpback whales to the area after they had been hunted near to extinction in these waters. The beauty of the area was explained and even if we had not seen the orcas, the trip would have been worth the time. It was worth driving to the north end of Vancouver Island to experience the whales, sea lions, salmon and eagles. Come join the crew of Seasmoke Whale Watching for a wonderful and educational trip.” ~ Jamie Brickell, Maryland, USA.

“I grew up in the area, but the marine mammals and the areas that we explored today were all new to me! We so enjoyed our talks about the orcas and their families. The day was beyond beautiful; we loved getting to know the other passengers too! Thank- you!”  Theresa, Sointula, BC.

“What a fantastic experience! I’m so excited that we got to see so many whales and beautiful scenery. Thank you!” ~ Karen, Vancouver, BC. IMG_8410 IMG_8425 IMG_8428 IMG_8442 IMG_8452 IMG_8401 IMG_8457 IMG_8458 IMG_8470 IMG_8493 IMG_8497 IMG_8499 IMG_8501

A Tribute to Plumper ~

Plumper

You are gone
and a memory
you have now become
your tall, and striking
dorsal fin,
so clearly defined
across the years
and etched so clearly
in ones mind
and memory bank.
How beautiful you were
and you always will be so.

When we all think back
on those glorious days
of you fishing with your brothers,
so blissfully off Lizard Point
a favourite place of yours and they.
How wonderful it was
seeing you Plumper,
majestic among your brothers,
and they as well
beautiful boys
and brothers three ,
well loved by all you were.

And then it was brothers two,
you and playful Kaikash.
Now you have left him, and us as well.
We all grieve you collectively
as a dear friend passed,
yet we still feel your presence
out in the Strait’s and Sound,
perhaps that is because
we loved and miss you so!
Wherever Kaikash goes,
go you, and reminded of you
we shall aways be, dear beautiful boy.

by Maureen Towers

July 20, 2014

 

 

Remembering the A36 Matriline ~

A Tribute to all of them

Years ago we knew them all
A36 the Matriarch,
Sophia and her sons of three,
Cracroft, Plumper and Kaikash.
For research purposes and on the VHF radio,
we called them by their number,
A36, A32, A37 and A46.

The family tree was so small you see,
because the only daughter A44,
died sadly aged only two in ’75.
Alas no name was given to her,
and Sophia in ’97, was also gone
and with her passing the brothers three,
A36 boys and bonded brothers they became.

And so began what we all knew must be
an ending of their family tree,
when brother and oldest son, Cracroft
also fondly called Popsicle,
because of his enormous rounded
popsicle shaped dorsal fin,
was sadly gone in 2010.

Plumper and Kaikash brothers two
they plied our summer waters still.
Their mother held in great esteem
their Matrilineal family name
A36’s remained the same
but then as brothers two,
so dearly loved were you.

With a great sense of loss and sadness,
it appears that Plumper is now at rest.
Seen just once several weeks ago,
while swimming very slow,
and far behind his brother
it seemed inevitable to us all
that he too would soon be gone.

July 17th the dawning truth
when Kaikash came alone,
on past the Orcalab he swam,
strong and fast he entered Johnstone Strait.
He was back home again into familiar waters
where his mother and siblings had all once been,
yet this time now, he swam alone.

Up and down the waters
of Johnstone Strait,
the A36’s they had all graced,
long ago it seems, yet so easily recalled,
the lasting beauty of them all
dear Sophia with her sons of three,
endeared to all of us were they.

Brave heart, dear Kaikash carry on
just like your older brothers taught.
You the youngest now fully grown
you are the last surviving one,
Sophia’s only living son,
her memory, and that of your older brothers two,
Cracroft and Plumper, you keep alive for us, them all!

by Maureen Towers

July 20, 2014

A36 brothers