When big and small species surprise and delight us!

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The overcast morning was made bright for all of us by the ever changing wildlife and scenic beauty that we encountered at every turn. As we moved slowly through narrow island waterways we stopped frequently to observe numerous bald eagles sitting high up in tall evergreen trees. Some of the eagles had their wings spread wide and drying and all of it was fascinating to watch, moment by moment. Harbour seals, mothers and their pups were hauled out on the rocks while others languished in shallow waters. They were all watching us just as intently as we watched them and it was superb viewing!

A humpback whale was seen off in the distance and as we got closer but still a distance away, it was easy to identify Guardian by her uniquely shaped dorsal fin and the white underside of her fluke. She was moving about, diving for some seven minute intervals in an area that she is often seen feeding in. Another humpback whale caught our attention when we noticed it breaching a distance away. It is always a treat to see a breaching whale, a humpback whale in particular for even at a distance the splash created can be immense!

Also seen today: dall’s porpoises, marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets, harlequin ducks, black turnstones, red-necked phalaropes and a stellar sea lion.

It is not only the large species that we encounter that can take our breath away, so too did a tiny humming bird that flew so quickly over our heads today that it was out of sight before some of our passengers had time to turn and watch it!

Humpback Whales and a Sea Otter ~ the magic continues!

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It seemed as though the sun came out just for us on our tour today and what a stunner of day it was!
The sea was like a mirror once the strong ebb current slowed during our morning of drifting with the current.

Guardian and Ojo’s Blanco’s, our resident humpback whales, were working hard foraging in large circles in the area just off Stubbs Island. Since we have been seeing them daily, their flukes are becoming very familiar, Guardian with her broad white underside and Ojos Blancos being mostly black.

A highlight during our tour today was the rare sighting of a sea otter! Sea otters are usually seen further north and out on the west coast but every now and again we spot one this far down the Inside Passage which is quite a treat for us locals. This little critter lay on its back in amongst the bull kelp with its furry head and prominent whiskers sticking above the surface of the water. All around this individual were numerous harbour seals lazily lounging on the near by rocks.

Bald Eagles were numerous as well today and we counted at least six on one small islet, some perched in the lower branches of cedar trees while others stood as large features on the ground. Everything looked so stunning under the clear blue sky while we drifted on a calm blue ocean!

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 Our Co-Pilots!

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An extraordinary wildlife tour!

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Family time-1 Footprint Guardian 1 Guardian 2 Guardian 3-1 Otters at Alder

Our tour this morning was jam-packed with exciting wildlife encounters and extraordinary behaviour from one of the five Humpbacks we observed.

It all started before leaving Alder Bay when the resident family of River Otters decided to share some family fun on the dock only meters away from us. They tossed and tumbled over each other creating an otter bundle, ignoring us as we silently observed and took photo’s.

Once underway, we were struck by the numerous pairs of Bald Eagles sitting on the ground along the shores of the Pearse Islands. Their delicate calls echoed out towards where we drifted. Other interesting bird sightings consisted of a single Hummingbird that flew at an impressive speed right across our bow when we were at least a mile offshore. As well there was the first sighting of a raft of Red-necked Phalaropes that daintily tapped at the water creating only the slightest of a ripple.

Harbour seals in great numbers sat high on the rocks as low tide approached and numerous Dall’s porpoises surfaced above the glassy calm sea. At one stage we enjoyed watching them bow ride another vessel, then they came to join ours when the other boat slowed down. They like a certain speed when wanting to draft alongside a vessel.

We thoroughly enjoyed watching our local humpback whale Guardian forage in the strong ebb current, her distinct fluke rising high to the sky when about to deep dive.

Our highlight today was the numerous times Humpless’s (also known as Slash) calf breached+++,  spyhopped and slapped the ocean surface with its pectoral fin. Again and again we could see various limbs appear from the water then leaving behind a mass of white water as it landed. Side by side they swam, mother and calf, a bond you so rarely see but know so dearly that it is always a privilege to witness.

Wearing wide grins, we ventured home, under a blue sky bright with sunshine!

 

Beautiful Blue moments to enjoy and savour!

It is such a neat experience for our guests to not only enjoy the wildlife we have in this area but to really get a good look at, and to start to understand the unique dynamics of the water in this region.

We began our tour at low tide so the intertidal zone along the shoreline was a prominent feature. The rockweed was abundant, sticking way up above the water line and we could hear and see Oyster Catchers foraging on the crustaceans that were tucked inside this seaweed.

Following low tide was slack water, when the current had slowed and became stationary for a short time. During slack water we were able to position the boat amongst islands and islets, turn the engines off and be still to witness the richness of nature that surrounded us.

It was interesting to observe the whales at the change of the tide and current. We noticed the Humpback whales were foraging along a tide line for the hours we were with them. Ripple, Ojo’s Blanco’s and Guardian were the whales of the day and their pattern of 5 shallow surfaces, 1 deep dive for a duration of four minutes were consistent particularly when the current had turned to flood.

As the flood tide gathered speed and surface of the water livened, so did the speed in which the whales foraged. Whirlpools and eddies gave the water a dynamic appearance and we could feel it shift the boat ever so gently as we drifted amongst it.

On our way home we used the current to our advantage, which surged us forward through narrow passes and channels, enjoying the harbour seals who were doing exactly the same.

A splendid day, under a mix of sun and cloud, on a smooth and lovely sea.

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Beautiful Blue!

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Alert Bay Ambassadors on top of the Alert Bay Info Centre!

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Beautiful blue waters and a humpback whale!

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What a wonderful part of the world we live in!

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What a beautiful part of the world we live in on the edge of the rainforest!

It was four seasons in one day out on the water today. Sunshine, warm temperatures then rain and a nip in the air made for an exciting adventure on board our M.V. ‘Seasmoke’ but the unpredictable weather did not deter the wildlife. We hadn’t even left Alder Bay and a family of River otters came out for all our passengers to see. We were grateful for their trust as they lingered on the dock even when we stood only meters away.

Once underway we appreciated the calm seas and the slack current enabling us to shut down our engines and drift silently by seals snoozing at low tide and our resident Bald Eagles resting alongside their nests.

Dall’s porpoise surfaced in the distance, Rhinoceros Auklets floated by in small rafts and Pigeon Guillemots flew by in flock formation, all the while we slowly ventured closer to where whale blows had been sighted.

Two travelling Humpbacks kept us company for over an hour this morning. Their blows could be heard from a good distance as the air was still and silent. As the whales dove deep, we were able to see the underside of the fluke which gave away the individuals we were observing. Our forever faithful Guardian was one, along with Ojo Blanco (White Eye).

By the time we parted the area and headed home, the flood current was fast and furious, stirring up the sea like a running river. The rain fell heavy at times but we were all wrapped up warm and dry in our float suits.

Another fabulous day sharing in the company of friendly folks and the gentle giants who delight us with their company throughout our glorious summer.

Warm wishes to you all ~ May good health, peace, beauty and happiness be yours throughout 2016 ~

Early Day's aboard SV Tuan

To all of you who have spent time onboard the SV Tuan in recent years or many years ago, we thank you  for joining us and hope that you enjoy these photo’s that were taken on one of our early tours, a long while ago!

Take good care of one another, your family and friends and may love light your way throughout 2016.

Love and gratitude for our planet earth ~ our oceans, rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and plains and every part of earth in between.

Love and respect for all who live upon and share our planet earth ~ from the tiny diatoms in the oceans to the giants who roam our lands and oceans and every species on earth in between.

Love and appreciation for the elements who make our living here on earth possible ~ air, fire, earth and water for without these elements in our world, none of us could survive.

Early days aboard SV Tuan.

Early days aboard
SV Tuan.

 

A phenomenal tour! Resident and Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales and Pacific white-sided Dolphins+++!

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It was yet another remarkable day out on the water viewing Cetaceans but today had an added energy and momentum with the early sighting of Biggs (Transient Orcas) travelling our way. With the SE wind blowing and our mainsail hoisted it was near Beaver Cove that we encountered the T060’s, the Matriarch T60 with her four off-spring T60C, T60D, T60E and T60F travelling with T002B (1 orca), they were identified by Jared Towers (DFO). While a large group of pacific white-sided dolphins went racing past Alert Bay at 8: 00 a.m. this morning, it was likely the same group that came racing back our way, travelling quickly they suddenly emerged through the flooding current running out off Pearse Passage, a humpback whale was also seen fluking off Lewis Point just ahead of the approaching orcas. The orcas looked to be slowing and stalling while the dolphins crowded towards the shoreline of the Pearse Islands and then suddenly mid-strait the orcas surfaced again and high powered porpoising activity++ was seen with dolphins among them. The pace and momentum was precise and deadly, and soon unbelievably the orcas were grouping nearby our boat surprising us, swimming directly under our boat back and forth, there were no dolphins seen at this point meanwhile the large group of 100++ dolphins had headed out through Weynton Passage.

Leaving the Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas, we travelled out through Weynton Passage, watching a humpback whale feeding near the Stephenson Islands as we passed through and soon we could see resident orcas travelling towards us, they were the I15’s and as we watched they made their way surprisingly slowly, even though the current was flooding. How beautiful it was seeing them in this relaxed manner and even when they entered the choppy waters of Johnstone Strait, they still moved relatively slowly with the flooding current pushing them east at a seemingly relaxed pace!

There were humpback whales feeding intensely, with clouds of gulls circling above them while common murres++ and also rhinoceros auklets were feeding from depths below, at one point we saw four humpback whales feeding in multiples of two and ‘Guardian’ once more was amongst them! The SE winds were still blowing as we sailed with our stay-sail homeward bound. What a day and tour, charged with energy as dolphins and orcas (transients and residents) and humpback whales, made their way in the wild as nature intended for them to do. The reality of ‘wild’ we witnessed today, and while some dolphins undoubtably perished, so many more survived, as did the T60’s/T002, feeding as all species need to do (humans included) in order to survive. Also seen: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, stellar sea lions, belted kingfishers, marbled murrelets and gull species.

**For some reason we have been unable to download anymore photo’s from today’s tour from our camera. We will attempt to do so tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Today’s penned comments: “We had a wonderful trip. Thanks so much!” William and Jenny, Seattle

“We saw so many animals! Orcas, Humpback, Seals and Sea Lions! Wonderful! We never expected it! ”      Monika and Joseph, Germany