Awe-inspiring magic!

June 18,

A mirrored sea and beautiful sunshine created a smooth and comfortable ride out to the groups of islands that make up this stunning area.

After picking up our guests in Alder Bay, we cruised along the low tide shoreline in the hope of seeing a Black bear foraging on the small organisms that live under seaweed covered rocks. We were astonished when we came across a mother with two cubs. As we watched, mum carried on foraging unperturbed while the cubs scurried further up the beach and watched us from afar.
We continued our journey through narrow channels where Harbour seals lazed on rocks exposed by the low tide. We stopped at an occupied Bald eagles nest and waited patiently for the Eaglet to raise its head, and it did for all of us to clearly see!
We were delighted to encounter a pair of Humpback whales, one much smaller than the other and soon identified them as Ripple and her calf. They foraged side by side, swimming in large circles and surfacing regularly. Suddenly, at least five Bald eagles arrived to feed on a bait ball of small schooling fish, and the Humpbacks soon joined them. How fabulous it was to see the enormous head and jaw of a whale rising from the sea, and the occasional long dangly pectoral fin appear as they feasted on the small schooling fish.
How grateful we were having witnessed such a sight and happy to know that today, the animals were well nourished.

Humpback Whales in their glory!

June 17th

The sky was completely blue with not a single cloud in it, and the ocean was like glass. Everything glistened today. The bull kelp, heads of Harbour seals and the backs of Porpoises and Humpbacks sparkled like diamonds as their water-soaked backs came up to the surface.

At the beginning of our tour, it was slack tide which meant the water lacked current and was still. This enabled us to get close to reefs and islands to look more intimately along the shore. From this vantage point, we viewed Bald Eagles which were delicately balanced on tops of trees and observed a young Eaglet in one of the nests. We have the privilege of spending the summer watching this little one grow.

We came across a mother Humpback and her calf. As the two of them surfaced side by side, we could see that one was so much smaller than the other. We saw the stunning display of a full breach as the smaller Humpback rose clear from the water and landed with a huge splash. It was an astonishing sight to see! As they swam slowly but steadily in all directions we watched and listened and with our engines turned off their breath could easily be heard.

Today felt like the first day of summer and how grateful we all were to be on the water witnessing all the sunshine and beauty.

Wonderful sightings in Blackfish Sound ~

DSC06220wm nie
June 13th
We experienced a break in the rain during our afternoon tour today; sunlight, patchy clouds and calm seas welcomed us.
We had a guest join us who had lived in Alert Bay in the early 70’s. It was exciting for us all to be touring around his old stomping ground which included Orcalab on Hanson Island.
It was in this area where all the wildlife came out to play. At least five Humpbacks foraged just off the lab in Blackfish Sound, Dall’s porpoise appeared on the glassy surface of the sea, and a vigorous Stellar Sea Lion slapped a salmon about, it was held securely in the sea lions jaws. Rhinoceros Auklets foraged as well; up they would pop from a dive with a small silver fish in its beak which glistened in the afternoon sun.
A beautiful day with delightful people and stunning wildlife and scenery. Thank you Northern Vancouver Island.

At​ one with the elements of nature ~

 

June 12th

Rain and wind did not keep us away from heading out on an afternoon tour to experience this stunning and picturesque area. The dramatic weather enhanced the beauty that surrounded us. Misty clouds whisked through the trees on the mountainsides, wind waves crashed over reefs and soaked the Harbour seals who lazed in the overcast conditions.

We travelled through protected passageways where wind could not touch us, and the calm, tranquil water gave us the chance to photograph numerous Eagles who dried their soggy winds in the South Easterly breeze. Innumerable Humpbacks, Stellar Sea lions and Harbour seals foraged in Weynton Passage where the strong flood current stirred up the nutrients from the sea floor. An added surprise to the tour was the sighting of a Minke Whale on the way home!
Our guests on board MV Seasmoke were delighted to be sheltered from the rain by our boat canopy but still intimate with nature being on a small boat nice and close to the water. At one with Nature, we were once again.

An amazing mix of species!

IMG_0417IMG_0451IMG_0478IMG_0485IMG_0493IMG_0413

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!

IMG_0130IMG_0174IMG_0262IMG_0275IMG_0309IMG_0360IMG_0394

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.

A spectacular day of viewing!

IMG_0006IMG_0034IMG_0058IMG_0067IMG_0086IMG_0090IMG_0094IMG_9995

September 12th

Our Sightings:

Humpback whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, River Otters, Stellar sea lions, Harbour seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassins Auklets, Gull species, Belted Kingfishers, Pigeon Guillemots and Common Murres.

Freckles, Guardian, Black Pearl and Moonstar were just a few of the Humpback whales we encountered today. When we look back at our blogs written in June, some of the same names are coming up now which we recorded way back then. This area has literally become a feeding ground for Humpbacks and it happens to be right in our back yard.

Our Humpback viewing was spectacular with a variety of behaviours observed on both tours that went out today. Tail Lobbing and pectoral fin slapping caused a flurry of white water. Two Humpbacks were seen swimming amongst a large group of Sea Lions and at times it seemed as though the whales were showing who was boss. Tail slaps occurred right beside where the sea lions were swimming, perhaps in a means to communicate or displaying signs of irritation. If only we could really understand what the physical gestures mean by our resident Humpbacks we so often get to observe.

During one tour today, Humpbacks fed by lunging right into the centre of a bait ball and passengers all witnessed a fabulous breach from an unidentified Humpback. Clear skies and a deep blue sea made this vision a spectacle and will be imprinted on our passenger’s memories for a long time.

Other highlights on this fabulous day of cruising consisted of numerous sightings of dolphins, some seen soon after leaving the dock in Alert Bay. The family of River Otters came out on cue while our Alder Bay guests donned their flotation suits, not to mention the Stellar Sea Lions whose numbers are rising daily.

It is truly a remarkable stretch of coastline, speckled with charming islets and islands and all sewn together by picturesque Straits and Inlets. The backdrop of stunning mountains and our rich and luscious temperate rainforest is home sweet home for all the creatures we have observed on this stunning autumn day.

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