Phenomenal viewing on both of our tours ~ Humpback Whales and Orcas!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions hauled out and swimming++, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Grebes, Red-Necked Phalaropes+, Marbled Murrelets, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Black Turnstones and Gull species.

It was a gorgeous day to be out on the water viewing Orcas and Humpback Whales! How fabulous was our morning tour with near sightings of four Humpback Whales including Corporal, Freckles and Argonaut. Corporal and Freckles we saw together swimming in unison, Freckles diving just a moment after and behind Corporal. They were so beautiful to watch, along with Dall’s Porpoises feeding nearby. There seemed to be more birds in the vicinity today, numerous Cassin’s Auklets but also small groups of Common Murres were seen with gulls hovering over bait balls!

Orcas were reported arriving into the east end of the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve and on our arrival we observed them from the Reserve Boundary of 1000 metres, both groups, the A30s and A42s who were at the rubbing beaches and close to the shoreline.

On the afternoon tour we encountered the A30s and A42s near Big Bay on Hanson Island. They were foraging and while we drifted in the current we listened to their beautiful A-Clan vocalizations! What a glorious viewing of them we all enjoyed, it was so amazing, especially when A72 and her calf passed nearby as we drifted! Two Humpback Whales and numerous Steller Sea Lions were also seen on our way home.

The sunlight was so bright and beckoning to all of us this afternoon!

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Photo Credits: Muriel Halle and Seasmoke Whale Watching. All photos have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

 

Orcas and Humpback Whales in an ocean of blue!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, one Harbour Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions hauled out and swimming, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Black Turnstones and Gull species.

The weather did not disappoint us today and neither did our sightings of Orcas. They were the same two family groups that we have seen in recent days, the A30s and A42s. We encountered them travelling slowly west on the ebbing current in Blackfish Sound. They were milling around and briefly stalled just west of Flower Island, it was near Bold Head they appeared to gather more speed. Perhaps they were waiting for the current to turn back to flood and for them to turn back east once more was a thought that occurred to us but we will have to wait and see!

During our viewing of orcas, we also encountered seven or more Humpback Whales; three were in Blackfish Sound, two (possibly more) we sighted off Bold Head and at least two more near Stubbs Island. They were all on the move looking for food as were the birds common to our area at this time of the year. It was good to finally see a herring ball with gulls feeding upon it for the scarcity of bait balls and birds this year is of great concern to everyone.

The food chain from which all ocean species feed on, big and small, appears to have many links that are missing in our local waters this year! The sightings of Rhinoceros Auklets are very few and Common Murres are barely seen, just a single one or two can be observed on occasion. When compared to hundreds, if not thousands usually seen at this same time last year and years before, something is seriously wrong!

It was a special treat today to have a small group of Dall’s Porpoises ride alongside and at our bow briefly, we also saw another group rooster-tailing along in the current, they are so fast! The blue ocean sparkled in the bright sunlight and fluffy white clouds drifted on in a gorgeous blue sky, it was a beautiful day that we all enjoyed.

Photo Credits: Muriel Halle and Seasmoke Whale Watching.                                                                       Photos taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

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Exceptional viewing of Orcas ~ the A30s and A42s!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions hauled out and swimming! Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Common Murres and Gull species.

The beautiful weather continues and with it, sightings of Orcas! On the morning tour we enjoyed viewing the A42s as they slowly made their way east from Izumi Rock and watched while they entered into the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve. They were very social and there was a lot of interaction between the two Matriline groups, they were also extremely vocal and we all enjoyed listening to their A-Clan calls. Afterwards, four Humpback Whales including Freckles and Guardian were also observed.

Our afternoon tour was very exciting, the current was flooding and the orcas were foraging intensely in the tide-rip in Blackney Passage. The A30s and the A42s were feeding together and several breaches, tail and pectoral fin slapping was observed. It was exhilarating to watch all of their energetic activity and listening to their A-Clan vocalizations while they foraged was fantastic! Seven Humpback Whales were also observed on this tour with several of them fluking. It is always a beautiful sight to see as well as bait balls with gulls feeding++, another great sign to see in our waters!

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Photo Credits: Muriel Halle and Seasmoke Whale Watching. All photos are taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

A fantastic day! Resident and Transient Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Black Turnstones and Gull species.

What an incredible morning for viewing marine life! We first encountered the A42’s who were foraging west from Kaikash to Blinkhorn while on our hydrophone we were able to listen to their beautiful A-Clan vocalizations! Afterwards we observed two Humpback Whales, one we identified as Argonaut. Meanwhile, the Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas, T059 & T041’s who had been reported earlier travelling east along the north side of Malcolm Island, we observed them first in heavy current porpoising fast around Stubbs Island and watched as they made their way close along the Plumper Islands shoreline while the Steller Sea Lions quickly hauled out of the water just ahead of them!

It was an amazing morning, with so much variety in the wildlife sightings and endless activity that was happening all around us to watch, seemingly at the same time!

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

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Sailing with Orcas and Humpback Whales ~ an uplifting and energizing experience that was enjoyed by all!

IMG_9502 IMG_9501 IMG_9540 IMG_9553 IMG_9541 IMG_9581 IMG_9554 IMG_9592 IMG_9586 IMG_9600 IMG_9596 IMG_9635 IMG_9628 IMG_9604 IMG_9619It was a fantastic day for sailing with the whales! Heading out this morning, with NW winds blowing we hoisted our main sail and headed down Johnstone Strait and arriving at Blackney Passage we saw two humpback whales at a distance. Entering Blackfish Sound we could see a spread of orca fins ahead of us along with more humpback whale blows and whitecaps! It was indeed a windy day but fantastic for sailing and sailing we did! While trailing our hydrophone, we could also listen to the beautiful A-Clan calls of numerous A-Clan orcas for there was the A30 matriline and the A42’s and possibly others, of this we are not absolutely sure as the orcas were in a wide spread across the Sound, foraging and moving about greatly in the ebbing current and with the wind and wave factor, it was not easy to identify, and with the presence of dolphins, the orcas were taking long dives. But it was fabulous to watch and enjoy and the humpback whales as well for they were every bit as exciting to watch, but where to watch and when, became our dilemma! Orcas or humpback whales? We enjoyed some wonderful viewing of A38 as he foraged towards us and around us while we sailed. It was fantastic viewing especially of two humpback whales, a mother and her calf, the calf tail lobbing++ into the wind and choppy waters! Our senses were fully engaged in the ‘present moment’ for it was exhilarating seeing all that was around us, including pacific white-sided dolphins swimming amongst the orcas and dall’s porpoises were also in the area. Also seen: more humpback whales++, stellar sea lions hauled out and swimming, harbour seals, bald eagles, belted kingfishers, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, gull species, red-necked phalaropes and a family of river otters at Alder Bay!

Today’s penned comments: ‘Nature is magic. Thank you both for being my guide in this tiny little corner of the planet earth. You showed me the glory of the ocean, and your enthusiasm was infectious and extraordinary. I will remember this day for the rest of my life.” Kaley, Toronto

“Today was a truly educational and inspirational experience for me. I learned so much about whales and how they sound and behave. They are such magical and mysterious creatures in many ways and I am so thankful I got to see them in their natural habitat. Best”. Aaron, Toronto

“Seeing orcas has been on my dream bucket list. Thank you for making it come true. You are incredible guides and hosts”. Elysha, Toronto

“Thanks to you both for creating such an incredible experience for us. Your passion, knowledge, experience are evident in everything that you do and the experience you created for us. Thank you for a magical and unforgettable day.” Barbara

“Fantastic day! Many orcas, humpbacks, sea lions, river otters, seals, eagles….and great scones!” Colin, Carol & Anna, Olympia, WA & Meritxill, Spain

“Incredible day ~ Full of frollicking humpbacks! Thank you for a wonderful day. The freshly baked scones were delicious!”

‘Had no particular expectations so today was incredible and I feel again, so incredibly lucky to live in this part of the world. The voyage was comfortable and we felt well cared for. Mr Safety at the helm & great tea, thank you!”Judith & Jannika, BC

“What a great day! I had so much FIN! It was a WHALE of a good time and I hope to SEAL you again real soon!”Jason

“Lovely relaxing sightseeing”. Kathy & Moi, Courtenay, BC

A beautiful day with numerous sightings ~orcas, humpback whales, black bears, a minke whale, dolphins and porpoises!

What a beautiful day with so many sightings! Our tour today took us in the direction of the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve where orcas were reported nearby and they were on the verge of entering when we headed out this morning. En route in Johnstone Strait we had some surprise sightings beginning with the sighting of a black bear on a beach on Vancouver Island and a second one a few kilometres further east. We passed dall’s porpoises feeding nearby as well a small group of pacific white-sided dolphins who were also fully focussed on feeding. As we neared the eastern boundary of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, a minke whale passed us travelling to the west and it was a wonderful surprise seeing this whale so far east in Johnstone Strait! Looking towards the Reserve, we could see a group of orcas nearing Critical Point, close to the shoreline while many more orcas who had been in a large resting line, looked to be heading out of the Reserve angling west in the direction of Cracroft Point!

And so it was that we were able to view the A30’s, A5’s, A42’s and A4’s who travelled close along the Cracroft Island side of Johnstone Strait. The A30’s were in the lead with A38 out in the front and foraging, the A5’s and A4’s were travelling in tight groups just behind them while the A42’s trailed a short distance behind; all were headed towards Cracroft Point. With our hydrophone deployed at one point we could hear distant G-Clan calls, those of the I15’s and G27’s who had carried on to the east in the Reserve. We observed when A38 angled back to the east foraging briefly, and then he angled outwards towards our boat, passing alongside and then crossing further out towards mid strait, at that point we again deployed our hydrophone with our engine off and heard some wonderful A-Clan vocalizations, which were fabulous to listen to. In Blackney Passage, we observed a humpback whale feeding in wide circles in the passage, we could also see the blows of two more humpback whales near Parsons Bay. Johnstone Strait today provided us with an amazing array of species in a relatively small area which was truly remarkable!

Today’s penned comments: “Had an awesome day, many orcas, two bears, humpback and delicious scones and tea. Thanks for this nice and amazing trip.” Bertha, Thomas & Ben, Germany

“Thanks for the great tour. Well done. A real treat for a couple of Prairie flat landers like us.” Phil & Suzanne, Saskatoon, SK

” Thanks for an amazing trip yet again!My fondest childhood memories are of trips on your sailboat watching orcas. It is bittersweet to be out here for the last few times, but I always have a great time.”Keaghan (Heidi’s & Bobby’s daughter).

“Thanks for a fabulous trip”

“I had an amazing time watching orcas and humpback whales! I also loved seeing the bears on shore. You guys are a charismatic duo and clearly love what you do. Thanks for teaching us about the orca families and the ways that orcas are protected from harm. One of a kind experience.” Katelyn, Portland

“Thank you for a beautiful experience!” Simone & Michel, Winnipeg,

‘A wonderful trip with two bears, dall’s porpoise, white-sided dolphins, A-30 Orca family, humpback whale feeding and best of all, Maureen’s scones.” Heidi, Bobby & Clan. Portland.

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