Another day of beautiful humpback whales accompanied by pacific white-sided dolphins ~

Our day started off cloudy and misty when we left the dock but as we ventured further, those initial thoughts we left behind us as we entered into an abundant and mystical marine world. Our guests were from BC, USA, Germany and Italy, it was a great crowd!

We made our way slowly through some favourite island waterways viewing belted kingfishers, bald eagles and harbour seals. All three species are a treat to see and never disappoint. The parents of a bald eaglet were on site near their nest, along with their precious eaglet that was perched high in its nest.

It was down in Johnstone Strait that we encountered two humpback whales feeding in the current accompanied by several pacific white-sided dolphins who were leaping all around the whales; the dolphins were also feeding in the surging current. The current, flooding as it was at the time that we were witness to its mighty force, made for some interesting viewing for our guests who were utterly amazed at the feeding frenzy of so many species taking place nearby.

We watched, all of us entranced by the beauty in our surroundings as the fog and mist began to lift in the Blackney Passage area and then we started back towards home, spotting some Dall’s Porpoises along the way.

It was a great day, filled with smiles by all!

Today’s Sightings:
Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Bald Eagles, an Eaglet in the nest, Harbour Seals, Black Turn Stones, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Black Oyster Catchers, Wandering Tattler, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

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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

Unforgettable Humpback Whales with phenomenal viewing!

IMG_5462 IMG_5452 IMG_5510 IMG_5511 IMG_5506 IMG_5502 IMG_5499 IMG_5561 IMG_5552 IMG_5542 IMG_5526What a warm and wonderful day to be on the water. Our orca friends had not been seen or heard of by anyone this morning so we headed out in search of humpback whale blows and did we ever have some wonderful viewing down in Blackfish Sound and around Cracroft Point! A wonderful humpback whale, Conger, was swimming in circles feeding underneath the red-necked phalaropes, rhinoceros auklets, common murres and gulls and doing circles around us as well. We simply shut off the engine and sat quietly drifting, listening for the puff and watching as the sun sparkled off its large dark back. Magnificent creatures, there was lots of action this morning with a total of five Humpback Whales. We also had a nice viewing of a pair of eagles and caught up with a lone stellar sea lion swimming, and one dall’s porpoise riding our bow, catching the slipstream on each side, back and forth!

It felt like Baja this afternoon when we headed out and again we had some wonderful humpback whale viewing! There were a total of six, possibly seven and we passed one more as we were heading back to the Bay. We met Jackie, the “Marine Detective” on the water in her boat and she was telling us how there was a new whale with an all white tail we’ve never seen before around here. With whales circling all around us it was hard to keep up with who they were, but one for sure was Ripple. Captain Mike saw a breach in the distance, lucky guy! And we cannot forget the beauty or the sound of belted kingfishers in their flight through Romantical Pass in the Plumper Islands.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out on the water viewing nature and marine life at its best!

Today’s penned comments: “Wonderful afternoon aboard the Tuan. Spotted several humpback whales, seal, dolphins and various bird species. Simply amazing when the whales surfaced so close to the boat. What a sight, beautiful creatures. The sights and sounds of the west coast are simply amazing. The crew was very friendly and always ready to share their knowledge. Overall, a wonderful trip. Thank you,” Murielle and Don, Langley, BC

“Couldnt ask for more. Blue skies, calm seas, many sightings, good scones” E & S Ladysmith, BC

“Wonderful afternoon trip! Surrounded by 3 humpbacks and several others. Never seen such a sight before! Thank you for the hospitality and Sarah was a delight!” McWhirter’s, Houston, TX

Mesmerizing humpback whale watching and so much more….

Humpback whale - fluke

Humpback whale: Jigger – fluke

Humpback whale: Jigger – dorsal fin

It was an amazing day with the viewing of many species, all of whom were converging to feed in the flooding current and while the day was mostly enshrouded in fog, this did not detract at all from our viewing

Cruising among the islands

Cruising among the islands

Cruising the islands today

Cruising the islands today

opportunities; instead it heightened our awareness of our surroundings and the exquisite beauty that was revealed to us glimpse by glorious glimpse. While there were several humpback whale sightings

Bald eagle fishing sequence

Bald eagle fishing sequence

eagle fishing seqence

eagle fishing seqence

reported today, they were well spread out in the area and because of fog in the earlier part of the tour, it was not possible to see them all. A mother and calf were reported being off Lizard Point and another single

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

whale off Lewis Point at the same time that we were viewing our first humpback whale of the day. Initially we sighted it near Weynton Island and observed it making its way east in Johnstone Strait before turning

Lefty - dorsal fin

Lefty – dorsal fin

Lefty - fluke

Lefty – fluke

back to the west. The dives were timed at 7-8 minutes with 8-9 breaths between and while the fog swirled in and around us, it was the blows that we listened for intently and while observing the pattern of its dive sequence

Gulls and seal pup

Gulls and seal pup

Cruise ship in Johnstone Strait

Cruise ship in Johnstone Strait

everyone could fully appreciate the sheer size and grace of the whale. While cruising among the Plumper Islands enjoying the quiet narrow waterways we observed some precious moments of young fledged

Johnstone Strait early afternoon

Johnstone Strait early afternoon

belted kingfishers in pursuit of their parents, shrill like, their cries carried far and we watched as they landed and settled close together on branches overhanging the water. Approaching Weynton Passage from the north side, another humpback whale was sighted and numerous bald eagles could be seen swooping low over a herring ball. Gulls and rhinoceros auklets joined in, feeding in a frenzy in the flooding current and it was good to see that both mature and juvenile eagles were successful in catching the small fish in their talons and flying off with them, some mature eagles to attend their nests. In a high nest nearby, two eaglet’s were observed with one of the parents arriving back at the nest with herring for them to feast on. Meanwhile the humpback whale surfaced again and we watched in awe as Lefty surfaced and dived with ease, some distance away from the herring ball. The fog was clearing rapidly with Johnstone Strait opening up and across at Beaver Cove two more humpback whales could be seen and another further east off Bauza Islets.  Other species also seen today included: harbour seals and some pups, dall’s porpoises, black oyster catches, harlequin ducks, pigeon guillemots, cassins auklets, herring and glaucous-winged gulls.

Bird watching

It seems as though summer has arrived already on the North Island with temperatures this last weekend as warm or warmer than they ever get to in the summertime and one cannot help but be amazed at the large numbers of Bald Eagles seen all over the island and viewed in close proximity. Yesterday 28++ could be seen feeding out in the Bay, diving low over a herring ball. This morning I observed a juvenile eagle targeting a Common Loon as it was feeding close to the Government Dock, fortunately for the loon, it skillfully dove beneath the waters surface time and again and the juvenile giving up, flew back to rest on the nearby piling. Birds of all species are busy, some are nest building while others are already sitting on their clutch of eggs. While gardening yesterday, it was heartwarming to see once again the Tree Swallows who have returned to our yard claiming their nesting box and the sound of Rufous Hummingbirds flitting back and forth among the salmon berry bushes and at the feeder was music to my ears. Great Blue Herons and Belted Kingfishers feeding out front when the tide is low is always a welcomed sight and seeing them this morning with the sun shining bright was wonderful. A Minke Whale was also reported yesterday feeding on the north side of Cormorant Island.