Fabulous viewing of marine mammals on the North Island!

Our sightings today: 5+ Humpback whales, 150++ Pacific White-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Bald Eagles++, Red-necked Phalaropes+, 5 Black Oyster Catchers, Belted Kingfishers, Common Ravens and a Great Blue Heron.

Once again we had excellent viewing of Humpback whales but especially of Argonaut who cruised nearby our boat while we drifted in the current with our engines shut down. How wonderful and mesmerizing it was for our passengers onboard ‘M.V. Seasmoke’ to witness at close range the many individual whales who while taking their deep dive would arch their backs and with their flukes held high would suddenly disappear to depths below; it never ceased to amaze everyone on board who were spellbound watching for those special breathtaking moments! Pacific White-sided dolphins were around the boat and feeding and they too added greatly to the fabulous viewing our guests experienced. We could not help but notice the Bald Eagles for they had been fighting over a salmon caught by one of them that we observed was down in the water. We all watched as it swam by flapping it wings and painstakingly made its way safely to shore. There had been 8 + eagles and a few ravens, all of them had been flying overhead watching the eagle swim to shore. It was an amazing action packed tour to say the least!

Canada Day ~ with brilliant viewing of Humpback whales, dolphins and porpoises!

Our sightings today: 4+ Humpback whales, 75-100+ Pacific White-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises++, 50 + Harbour seals, 2 Black-tailed deer, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Bald Eagles+, Red-necked Phalaropes++, Black Oyster Catchers, Belted Kingfishers and a Great Blue Heron.

Viewing Cetaceans big and small today was not difficult as Humpback whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins and Dall’s Porpoises seemed to be in every direction that we looked! It was an exciting tour with fabulous viewing of four Humpback whales including Domino while the blows of several other Humpback whales could be seen in the distance. Our encounter with some 75-100++ dolphins was incredible, they too were feeding in the flooding current and some could be seen leaping clear out of the water which left our guests speechless and very happy! The Dall’s porpoises were as delightful as ever and joined us once more riding at the bow of our boat ‘M.V. Seasmoke’ as we headed for home. Our meandering through some precious narrow waterways showcased a beautiful snapshot of the BC coastline and reminded everyone that all of nature is connected! Arriving back in Alert Bay we glimpsed a small portion of the Canada Day Celebration that was underway in the downtown core of the village, there were three Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their Red Serge uniform, one of whom saluted our boat as we went by.  What a day and what a celebration in every way for all of our guests onboard!

A wonderful morning in the presence of Orcas, Humpback Whales and Dolphins galore!

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When we leave on tours in the morning we seldom know exactly what we are going to see. Occasionally, it is foggy and we have to listen for blows or for vocalizations on the hydrophone. Today it was cloudy but mild and we saw just about everything we could hope for.

The trip started off with several sightings of Bald Eagles including a chick sitting in the nest. We also saw plenty of Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Turnstones and a few Black Oystercatchers, Cassin’s Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets. After observing some harbour seals for a while we found two foraging humpback whales. One of them, Guardian was taking long dives but the other one was feeding leisurely near the surface and we got excellent views of its pectoral fins waving in the air.

After this we found a young white-tailed buck eating foliage on a small island followed by a group of nearly 200 Pacific white-sided dolphins. They came ripping over to the boat and swam alongside of us for several minutes before peeling off towards the orcas. We did the same and about half a kilometre away we sat with the engines off and watched the dolphins swim all around as the orcas approached. It was the A23 and A25 matrilines of northern residents. They were resting all together with A60 out front. After they passed we observed the A42 matriline before finding 5 more humpback whales on the way home! All of this within a few miles of Alert Bay and all in a 3 hour tour!

Humpback Whales and the A5 Orcas ~ what a fabulous ending to a beautiful day!



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Our sightings:
Orcas (A5s), Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

We began our tour with fog in our surroundings, fog that is also referred to as ‘Seasmoke’ by some people at times!

Because of a full moon a few days ago, with a low tide, we explored through narrow island passages observing the wonderful under water world of sea urchins and sea anemones. At the Stephenson Islands we had a good look at some harbour seals hauled out on various rocky outcrops of the islands and although the fog persisted, we encountered some Dall’s porpoises feeding in the ebbing current.

Out in the ‘smoke’ we could hear and then see a humpback whale feeding in the current, taking seven minute dives, it would tail fluke each time. As the fog began lifting, we could hear another whale and suddenly, there were three humpback whales in the area, all were feeding in the fast flowing current.

Our second tour of the day began later, in the  beautiful sunny late afternoon, cruising through the Pearse Islands where we observed some Bald Eagles in the trees along with their huge nests. We then headed towards Stubbs Island where we encountered seven humpback whales feeding in the current where we watched mesmerized, some amazing tail flukes by the whales! We had a wonderful visit with Slash and her new calf as they chose to feed closer to us as we sat idle and drifting in the current while they put on an amazing show.  There were also several Dall’s porpoises rooster-tailing all over the place.

Over the radio we heard the call that members of the A5 pod were westing quickly towards the Robson Bight Reserve after having travelled from a distance well further east in Johnstone Strait. Our timing was perfect as we caught up to them at Naka Creek and travelled with them towards the Robson Bight (Michael Biggs) Ecological Reserve. Before they entered into the eastern boundary of the Reserve (of which we cannot enter into), they treated us to some spectacular breaching! Our main viewing was of A61 and A85. The A23s were behind them along the shoreline but further away.

The afternoon was warm with a bit of a breeze blowing. It was incredible viewing and with our passengers made happy and full of smiles, we headed for home.

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An amazing day with Northern Resident Orcas: A5’s, Sea Otters and Humpback Whales!

Onboard the M.V. Seasmoke this morning we began our tour with light fog and mist in our surroundings. At the bald eagle nest that we have been viewing in recent days, we watched excitedly as one of the parents flew into the nest with a fish for its young eaglet to feast on.

As we toured further, we passed by harbour seals and were very lucky to see a sea otter in amongst the kelp forest! While explaining about the bull kelp forests our young guest Chloe showed a keen interest in the jelly fish she could see floating past the boat!

Hearing a report about orca’s in the area we made our way east and caught up to them as they neared the Robson Bight (Michael Biggs) Ecological Reserve. It was fabulous to see them. They had been identified as the A5 pod and listening on the hydrophone we could clearly hear their beautiful A-Clan calls! Listening to their calls is a truly wonderful sound and adds greatly to the experience of seeing orcas in the wild!

As we headed back to the west we found two humpback whales feeding in the tide rips. It was a fabulous ending to a remarkable day of viewing and with Chloe from Switzerland as AJ’s co-pilot, we headed back home with one last wonderful viewing, of yet another sea otter! Was it the same sea otter that we had seen earlier on in the tour? Of that we cannot be sure!

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WOW ~ wonderfully outstanding whales ~ humpbacks!

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We headed out this morning and took our time meandering through scenic waterways of the Pearse Islands viewing belted kingfishers and bald eagles along the way. We also explored the amazing array of intertidal marine-life, all of it was fascinating to view and the colours were mixed and beautiful to observe at such close range!

In Weynton Passage we scanned for blows in the area and our patience was rewarded when we sighted a Humpback Whale in the middle of the Pass! The whale was moving back and forth in the strong flooding current.

In a large Bald Eagles nest nearby we could all clearly see an Eaglet with its two parents sitting close by. It was amazing to watch one of the adults returning to the nest with a fish that we had observed it catching only moments earlier!

In Blackfish Sound we looked for more blows and could see two more humpback whales down near Blackney Passage. The wind and the current swirled the water around fiercely while the humpback whales foraged in the midst of the current.

Just prior to leaving the area we noticed a few tail lobs from one of the humpback whales. Counting a total of eight tail lobs we observed that both of the whales were tail lobbing. It was an  incredible viewing, made even more phenomenal because of the wind conditions and surging current!

We headed back home towards sunshine and a brilliant blue sky. WOW describes it all!

Today’s Sightings:
Humpback whales, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, their nests and an Eaglet in a nest, Harbour Seals,
Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Black Oystercatchers, Wandering Tattler, Gulls,
Intertidal marine-life including Sea Urchins.