A phenomenal day ~ A Minke Whale, Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and more!

September 15th, 2016

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Our sightings: A Minke Whale, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Sooty Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Belted Kingfishers and Gulls galore!

Fog and drizzle greeted us this morning attempting to dampen our spirits but instead, our spirits soared from the onset because of what was then to follow. Like a spell unravelling, the magic began with a near sighting of a Minke Whale soon after we left the dock in Alder Bay! It was a peaceful encounter and we sat observing it in silence for a longtime watching as it surfaced and dived while active in feeding.

We made our way out through Weynton Passage and had a fabulous viewing of two Humpback Whales, one of which was trap feeding nearby. It was an incredible sight to watch as the large whale slowly surfaced with its mouth gaping wide open and its body hanging vertically, seemingly suspended in the water while small shoaling fish (herring) swam into its wide open mouth and then once inside the “trap” the mouth closed.

There was a report of Biggs (Transient) Orcas in George Passage travelling east, some 8-10 orcas who were later identified as the T049s and T019s. Our viewing of them when they unexpectedly surfaced nearby was breathtaking, the images of the big black and white Orcas was stunning to see and filled our hearts and minds to the brim!

Our afternoon tour found us viewing Humpback Whales, some were close while others were in the distance and some of them including Ridge were trap feeding.  The same Biggs (Transient) Orcas as seen on our morning tour were seen near the Sophia Islets in Johnstone Strait, they were in a resting line while T049A1 and T019C we observed were still in close physical contact to one another as they had been on the morning tour, it was wonderful watching the two interact while the other orcas rested nearby.

It was an amazing day with so much to see and presented us with a myriad of Cetacean species, big and small, when porpoises and dolphins also appeared into the mix!

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

Another day of magic on blue waters with Orcas, Humpback Whales and so much more!

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Black Oystercatcher

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Common Murres

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Our sightings: Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, a Great Blue Heron, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, Surf Scoters, an American Robin and Gulls.

It was a glorious day that grew even more beautiful later into the morning when we departed on our tour. Once again it was Biggs (Transient) Orcas who were in the area today, this time they were identified as the T002Cs of which we had some exceptional viewing.

We observed a Humpback Whale identified as Argonaut who was taking long dives and working the area while feeding in wide circles; our passengers enjoyed a beautiful close viewing on one passing!

There is increasing evidence of bait balls and birds gathering to feed with increasing numbers especially of Common Murres who have been late arriving into our area this season. The wonderful mix of Steller Sea Lions, Seals and birds that we saw while cruising slowly through some quiet island waterways where Bull Kelp forests sparkled in the sunlight was just as fascinating as all of the other magic that we witnessed today!

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

Biggs (Transient) Orcas and Humpback Whales with phenomenal viewing!

 

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Male Belted Kingfisher

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Our sightings: Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, a Great Blue Heron, Sooty Shearwaters, Surf Scoters and Gulls.

It was an incredibly exciting day to be on the water whale watching. There were a total of twelve Biggs (Transient) Orcas in the area, they were identified as the T099s, T034s, T037s. It is a large number of Biggs Orcas to be passing through this area at the same time and so today’s viewing of them was quite remarkable. Their playful activity that we observed included numerous tail slaps and spyhops! The A30s were also in the area but further east in Johnstone Strait while the Biggs who had travelled east in Johnstone Strait from Weynton Passage earlier in the morning, they turned into  Blackney Passage and in through Blackfish Sound.

Our viewing of Humpback Whales and their behaviour was also fascinating to watch today, especially of their lunge feeding activity. There were six whales, amongst them were Stripe and Freckles. Humpback Whales are extremely photogenic and never disappoint!

A Bald Eagle swimming in the water with a codfish also caught our attention, there was so much going on and to look at in all directions, it was an amazing time that we all shared!

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

An exciting day with Biggs (Transient ) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and Sea Lions!

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Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Great Blue Herons and Gulls.

It was an exciting morning for everyone when AJ our skipper looked up at the exact precise  moment and saw dorsal fins in the distance! After a lengthy dive underwater, they finally surfaced, four orcas who were believed to be Biggs (Transient) Orcas and who were later confirmed as Biggs (Transient) Orcas, the T101’s (T101, T102, T101A, T101B). During our time viewing the orcas, we observed them travelling from Stubbs Island and down and back through Cormorant Channel. They went after a Steller Sea Lion swimming alone but were not successful, the Sea Lion was seen swimming in the opposite direction when the orcas turned back.

As well as orcas, there was a large group of some 200+ dolphins who were observed initially off Mitchell Bay, they were steadily on the move, while Dall’s Porpoise’s joined us alongside, bow-riding briefly! It could not have been busier or better to have two Humpback Whales in our vicinity while all else was happening all around us, one of them was Argonaut!

The sea was flat calm today and made it possible for AJ to be lucky to spot the dorsal fins when he did. It was a fabulous Sunday outing and exhilarating to see such a diverse abundance of Cetaceans and seabirds with increased numbers of Common Murres, so close to our home port!

A large group of Dolphins were also observed travelling quickly west in front of Alert Bay when they suddenly turned back to the east, they were travelling fast and were swimming close along the shoreline of Cormorant Island.

Photo credits: Andrew Jennings. Photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

 

A30s and A42s ~ Beautiful viewing!

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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 and Gull species.

What beautiful weather we are all enjoying on the North Island! Today was a gorgeous one, made even more so with the appearance of the A30s into Johnstone Strait, they having arrived into the area last evening where they joined with the A42s! The morning was a wonderful one and we all enjoyed seeing the two families, close together, travelling slowly west near Kaikash in Johnstone Strait. Their A-Clan vocalizations were beautiful to listen to!

Afterwards, we ventured into Weynton Passage where fog had settled for a while and there we saw a Humpback Whale and Steller Sea Lions frolicking in the kelp forests.

This afternoon, Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas went by Alert Bay, they were the T0137s. People enjoyed watching and taking their photographs from the shore!

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Photo Credits: Andrew Jenning and Seasmoke Whale Watching. All photo’s 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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Northern Resident Orcas, Biggs (Transient) Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales,  Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Common Murres and Gull species.

It was an incredible day for viewing both Orcas and Humpback Whales on both tours and although it was a foggy morning and foggy for much of the afternoon, the viewing was wonderful. On our morning tour we had some brilliant viewing of a Humpback Whale lunge feeding nearby and we also enjoyed seeing the A30s who appeared mysteriously in the fog, they were resting and it was a beautiful sighting!

On our afternoon tour, we encountered the A30s once more, we were also in the company of some Transient Orcas, believed to be the T063s and their vocalizations were amazing!

It was quietly wonderful being in the midst of fog, our senses were fully engaged in listening to and smelling all in our surroundings!

Photo Credits: Muriel Halle ~