For the love of our home on Planet Earth ~

 

Every second breathe we take comes from the ocean!

Every second breathe we take comes from the ocean!

 

Please find a way to watch this documentary from the beginning to end. The trailer video for racing extinction is just a small portion of a credible and moving account of the extinction of species in our world and looms very close to all of us living as we do in our home on ‘Planet Earth’.

They share our ocean too!

They share our ocean too!

And our beloved orcas as well as all other smaller species who live in oceans all around the world!

And so do all species who live in oceans all around the world!

Nature on the North Island at its best~ Humpback Whales feeding in their glory!

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It was an amazing day for Humpback Whales! We started off heading toward Johnstone Strait and spotted a Black Bear foraging along the shore of Vancouver Island, just before Beaver Cove. As we approached Hanson Island, a Humpback Whale surfaced before us, showing it’s beautiful, large flukes as it dove. Arriving at Blackney Passage, we observed two Humpback Whale blows at a distance, it was Ripple and Ridge foraging amongst a bait ball of herring formed by gulls and diving birds. We were lucky enough to observe Ripple “trap feeding” in the dispersed bait ball as Ridge swam around and another Humpback behind us near Cracroft Point was also feeding. On our way back to Weynton Passage, a Humpback Whale in the distance was breaching and tail lobbing and even though it was a distance away, it was still amazing to view! Among the islands in Weynton Passage, Harbour Seals basked in the sun as the clouds parted and a large group of Steller’s Sea Lions swam and jumped playfully as we observed yet another Humpback Whale breaching in the distance and 3 others who were swimming through the passage! It was a spectacular day of viewing the returning Humpback Whales to Northern Vancouver Island waterways. Humpback Whales are indeed in their glory whilst feeding in these inside waters and deserve our care and respect as we navigate around and amongst them. They are fully focussed on feeding+++ and it is what brings them back to our area each summer. We all know and share the saying, ‘see a blow, go slow!’ It was an absolutely wonderful day of viewing in which we all shared!

Also seen: Dall’s Porpoises, Rhinocerous auklets, Common murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Black Oystercatchers, a Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfishers and gull species.

** Photo’s taken with photo lens and cropped for better viewing.

Todays comments:

“Lovely trip, nice people, great food, a wonderful day! Thanks”. Thomas and Lotte, the Netherlands

“Many humpbacks today. Smooth seas, cool weather, informative commentary. Saw more today than on other trips on faster boats. Great day!” Norm and Gwen, Shay, Odin and Ty

“It was awesome! I really like whales so I’m very happy. It was huge and incredible. Alert Bay is very pretty. I want to join this tour one more time. Ps: The staff are very kind and helpful. I enjoyed my sea trip. ” Makiko, Japan

“Thank you. Really cool trip” Sue, New Zealand

“A phenomenal, breathtaking experience. The beauty, the wildlife and the quiet were exceptional. Saw amazing whales, eagles and sea lions. Thank you so much for making this happen for our family. Service was superior!! Thank you, Nicole and Capt. Dave”. Azmaira, Zet, Zafir and Rafery. San Diego, USA

What else could one want ? Besides Orcas, Humpback Whales and Bald Eagles!

Starting off the morning with calm waters and beautiful sunshine may have foreshadowed the amazing trip we were about to experience. Heading toward Johnstone Strait, we were able to spot a few Dall’s Porpoises swimming along before our encounter of Orcas. On both sides of Johnstone Strait, Orcas were heading west, allowing us to have a spectacular view of them as they swam past; we were also able to hear their amazing vocalizations and echo locations via our hydrophone. We continued east as the Orcas turned in the same direction. We watched as three orcas made their way, synchronized, surfacing and diving in unison across Johnstone Strait to meet up with their matriline, their dorsal fins glistened in the sunlight as they surfaced and it was absolutely beautiful watching their movement! While the spread of orcas was wide across the Strait, we believe that among the orcas that we were with this morning were the: I15’s, G27’s as well as the A23’s and A25’s and our viewing of them was wonderful! Leaving the Orcas, we made our way over to Cracroft Point and observed two Humpback Whales feeding and swimming in Blackney Passage. In Blackfish Sound, a cluster of Steller’s Sea Lions swam along Hanson Island and in the distance, two other humpback whales were seen near Parsons Light. Spotting a bait ball forming as gulls swarmed above the water, moments later, a Humpback Whale lunged through the birds to feed on the herring! How fabulous is this world in which we live! The trip ended with a beautiful tour of the Plumper and Pearse Islands.

Also seen: Harbour seals, Black Oystercatchers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, a Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagles.

Today’s penned comments: “Once again it was such an amazing experience to be with you on this tour.We are so grateful for all the intensive moments we have had on board. Thank you so much!”     Chris and Ale from Switzerland

“Thank you very much for the awesome time. It was a great experience in nature. Also, thank you very much for the hospitality on board with the stunning food. We really enjoyed the tour. ”                          Jens & Ursula, Germany

“What a delight to spend the day with my pre-teen sons sharing my love of the ocean with them. Thank you! ” Heather, Alex & Dominic, Kelowna, BC

“Great day with friendly people. Sun, orcas, humpbacks, muffins, eagles, scones ~ there’s nothing else to expect! ” Jana & Bjorn, Germany

“Great trip~ loads of orcas, humpbacks and eagles. What else could one want!?!?” Jan, Seattle, WA

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A wonderful day of viewing orcas (A11’s), dolphins, dalls porpoise, humpback whales, stellar sea lions and seabirds galore!

IMG_6022 IMG_5974 IMG_5958 IMG_5964 IMG_6034 IMG_5960 IMG_5938 IMG_5915 IMG_5893 IMG_5883 IMG_5879 IMG_5858 IMG_5810 IMG_5796 IMG_5778 IMG_5773 IMG_5755 IMG_5752It was a fantastic day with so many cetacean sightings! It was incredible, we began our tour with an early sighting of orcas, the A11’s who were spread out at the top end of Blackfish Sound. Simultaneously at that first sighting, we also observed a black-tailed deer grazing up on an island close to where a small group of the A11’s (A35, A90 and A77) were passing close to one of the Plumper Islands. We watched as the A11’s in their small matriline groups slowly made their way east against the ebbing current, A35, A90 and A77 turned back briefly to forage and then carried on. We watched as all of the A11’s made their way crossing over towards the Hanson Island shoreline which they hugged, while resting, all the way into Blackney Passage and then, in the same fashion began making their way into Johnstone Strait, still travelling close along the Hanson Island shoreline but now headed to the west!

But there was so much else going on, pacific white-sided dolphins were feeding and interacting with the orcas and the orcas were taking long dives in their presence! The dolphins joined us briefly at the bow of our boat and later a small group of dall’s porpoise did the same. It was fabulous for our passengers to see them at close range and to see the difference between the two species. Hundreds of gulls, common murres and rhinoceros auklets++ had gathered, all feeding on herring (their scales were seen floating by as well we could see a dense mass of herring was just under the surface of the water), we had also seen three humpback whales in the near vicinity. On our way to view one of the humpback whales, we saw two stellar sea lions, one was feeding on salmon and we watched as it devoured several salmon in moments, as gulls hovered too close for comfort to its gaping mouth! Our timing with the humpback whale was brilliant and we so enjoyed some superb viewing of it! What a day, we headed home in the company of the A11’s as they too travelled to the west and then we parted company. The colour of the sky and water was breathtaking, brilliant and blue, it was so beautiful to see!

Today’s penned comments: “We had a great trip! We saw lots of dolphins, orcas and birds. We even saw a sea lion and humpback whale. The muffins and scones were delicious and you were lovely!  Thank you so much!” love, Monique and Annick, the Netherlands.

Again a great trip from our friend Lo. Thanks for giving us a great day out on the water! Michel, Ellen & Jesse, Netherlands

“Thank you very much for that lovely trip. Seeing so many different species we never expected plus the superb service on board made it an extraordinary experience. Barbara, Kristin, Isabelle and Lewie, Germany

What a fantastic trip! So much wildlife on the water. Knowledgeable guides made the trip interesting and added to our amazement of the marine life. Great job! Candice, Allan, Adriana and Dylan, BC

** Please note, many of the photo’s posted have been cropped to enable better visual viewing.

The magic of Conger continues with lunge feeding and breaching Humpback Whale activity ~ Fantastic viewing!

IMG_4678 IMG_4677 IMG_4675 IMG_4673 IMG_4670 IMG_4668 IMG_4666 IMG_4659 IMG_4655 IMG_4653 IMG_4648 IMG_4644We escaped the fog and rain today through a rainbow and found some spectacular wildlife in the sun. Today was a day of feeding. There was heavy tidal activity, with hundreds of Rhinoceros Auklets, Gulls, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, flying and feeding and diving for the tiny fish below. In the morning we were able to catch a nice glimpse of the schooling fish the birds were feeding on, there were scales sparkling throughout the benthos. Conger the humpback whale was lunge feeding right amidst the bird activity and very close to shore. In the morning while we were drifting, Conger came right up under the boat and we could all view its white pectorals visible in the water!

We saw Stellar Sea Lions feeding, Dall’s Porpoise rooster tailing in the fast flowing tidal current, and Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks. There was a total of four humpback whales swimming and one breaching, and lunge feeding. A few of us even caught a glimpse of an elusive Minke whale on our afternoon tour! It was a  fabulous day of wildlife viewing in the sunshine.

Today’s penned comments:

“Thank you Mike and Sarah, it felt like going out with friends. Cheers”

“Lovely trip, humpbacks, great birds, the sun broke through the mist, rainbow and numerous Dall’s Porpoise. Such a treat to be in this pristine area.” ~ Viki , Bellingham, WA

“Thanks for a great morning. Having the humpbacks swim under the boat was an amazing experience. Thanks for answering all our questions! We’ll come back for the orcas next year.” Holly & Nick, Victoria, Australia

“Very exciting trip, great birds. I loved the views of Conger the Humpback Whale. A magical experience, thanks!” Tora Roksvog, Kirkland, WA

“We had a great trip. We came from Holland to see whales and we found them! Thanks for that. We would like to catch salmon because we saw them jumping. We have learned a lot from this trip, thanks to Sarah and Mike! It was a great adventure :).” ~ Family Ros

“Thank you for a wonderful 5 hours on your sailboat. In this magnificent area of this world it did pay off to see the animals. Cheers” ~ David & Liad

“Thank you for a fantastic whale watching trip” ~The Djurhous Family, Denmark

What a special day ~ Biggs (Tansient) Orcas and two Minke Whales!

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Passengers boarding in Alert Bay this morning enjoyed a special viewing of a minke whale while they sat quietly onboard the boat waiting for others to arrive, how good does it really get!  There was not a breath of wind this morning when we left the dock in Alder Bay, it was perfect weather to spot whales (blows and fins) miles away. There was a Biggs (Transient) Orca sighting reported at Blackney Passage earlier this morning and as I planted my orca beans (runner bean seeds that look like little orcas), I was hopeful we’d encounter them today.
It was not too long into the trip that a speedy orca fin was spotted while scanning the area out through Weynton Passage, they were at the Stephenson Islands and moving quickly in the heavy ebbing current. Taking long breathes they disappeared from sight having passed through a channel of the Pearse Island group. We carried on in the direction that we had last caught a glimpse of them and were delighted when they suddenly surfaced nearby giving us all some exceptional viewing. There were six orcas in total and passing by numerous hauled out harbour seals on rocky outcrops and a pair of harbour porpoises, it appeared that they were not in ‘hunting mode’, carrying on their way instead, they slowed their pace giving us all a chance to view at a distance, their dive sequence. Jared (DFO) identified them as the T60’s (T60 with her offspring ~ T60C/14 years, T60D/11 years, T60E/7 years, T60F/3 years)  a family of 5 individuals, with T2B/36 years swimming with them at times close, and sometimes just behind; T2B is of a similar age to T60.
We watched as a minke whale came very close to the pod of orcas, there appeared some brief underwater ‘swirling of water’ and a large splash was seen a distance away, quite possibly the minke whale who had sped off out of the area while the orcas continued on their way heading steadily west passing Sointula on their way. We turned back and another minke whale (identified by Jared/DFO as Rapid) was sighted in the distance where rhinoceros auklets and common murres had gathered and bald eagles and gulls as well right in front of Alert Bay. The auklets and murres were feeding from ‘below the water and gulls and eagles from above’ all on a bait ball that the diving seabirds had formed by their diving expertise! We even got a whiff of that potent oily breath of the minke whale! It was a very exciting and special day to see the Biggs Orcas as well as the  Minke Whales (there were three in total in the area today: Rapid, Surf and likely Eclipse). Also seen: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals++, marbled murrelets, pigeon guillemots, black oyster catchers, cassin’s auklets, belted kingfishers, tree swallows and gull species.
Today’s penned comments: Thank you for the beautiful experience! It was simply incredible to see the orcas this ‘up-close!’ A boating trip to remember! All the best to you and hopefully till next time! Love ~ Maika & Leon, Netherlands
Thank you for such a fantastic trip. What a beautiful day and we were so lucky to see the orcas up close. What an amazing experience and we will certainly be recommending this tour to our family and friends in England. ~ Sophie & Kym, England
Wow, so much to see, special trip. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and lovely Devonshire Tea, cream and scones. Lovely morning ~ Barb and Rick
Blog today by Sarah
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Five humpback whales, pacific white-sided dolphins and bald eagles feeding on a bait ball ~ brilliant viewing!

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What an amazing day we shared, unbelievably so! While the clouds hung low and shoreline fog lingered briefly when we headed out, soon the sun was warm upon our faces and the sky and sea was bright with reflected light where beautiful shades of blue emerged. Initially we enjoyed viewing two pacific white-sided dolphins swimming nearby, a few more and then some 50 ++  spread across Blackfish Sound. They were feeding as were the three humpback whales we observed making their way in wide circles in Blackfish Sound. It was fantastic viewing, especially when several dolphins were observed leaping ahead of and around one of the humpback whales! It could not have been better when a bait ball suddenly formed where numerous rhinoceros auklets had gathered and the viewing of bald eagles flying in to grasp at the tiny fish with their talons was very exciting to watch. As we made our way west in Blackfish Sound we sighted two more humpback whales travelling east bringing our count to five individual humpback whales in the area to day, the most that we have encountered while on tour this summer! Also seen: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, common murres, belted kingfishers, pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, bald eagles++ and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: Thank you for an amazing tour through the islands and for the laughter and conversations shared as the dolphins swam alongside the boat and while the humpback whales were feeding. Thank you for allowing my children to be Captain of the boat, you are both truly amazing and should video tape your journals. Thank you for an amazing day, drinking tea and my daughter eating your delicious muffins and scones. Mom, Pippa, Parker & Ron ~ Victoria/ Port McNeill.

I had always wanted to see a humpback whale and so today was wonderful!! Ian, Jill and Ella ~ Wales, UK