Magnificent humpback whales in their glory!

What a beautiful morning we all enjoyed on the water with the rain clearing to reveal lovely shades of light reflecting on calm waters. There was an abundance of marine activity in our surroundings which added to the excitement of our passengers. We observed some beautiful sightings of the humpback whale Slash and her new calf, the calf was breaching and it was a phenomenal viewing! The photo’s of Slash have been cropped to enable better viewing, one of the photo’s clearly shows large slash’s across her body and she has no dorsal fin; the injuries are likely due to prop damage. Slash has been seen in our local waters since 2001. In total, some seven humpback whales were seen during our tour as well as harbour seals ( mothers and their pups), bald eagles++ sitting high in trees drying their wings, black oyster catchers, rhinoceros auklets and bow riding dall’s porpoises whose exuberance and darting speed delighted everyone on board!

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Humpback Whale Slash  (above) and mother and calf (below) ~

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Another beautiful day of viewing humpback whales ~

We had a beautiful day of touring and our sightings included four humpback whales (Guardian was one we identified) dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, a stellar sea-lion, harlequin ducks, black oyster catchers, bald eagles, rhinoceros auklets and common murres. Cruising leisurely through the islands our passengers enjoyed being amongst the calm, quiet and pristine waterways.

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A Fantastic day on the water with Orcas: A34’s/A46, A23’s & A25’s and breaching Orcas as well as Humpback Whales!

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Every day is different out here, and that is what makes each trip a unique experience. We saw a large number of harbour seals hauled out on the rocks with their fellow birds (black oystercatchers and black turnstones), looking mighty relaxed. We made our way past Stubbs Island and had a nice viewing of some long diving Humpback Whales. It was nice to spend a quiet few minutes waiting for them to surface and it made for excellent timing for what we encountered next.

They were families of resident orcas arriving into Blackfish Sound led by A46, the last surviving brother of the Three Boys, (A32, A37 & A46) and son of A36 (A36 Matriline). He has joined the A34’s and has been with them constantly since his first sighting into our area this summer. It is so good to see this and his obvious connection with the A34’s that began with A34’s mother, A12, several years ago. For those of us who know the story, it has been heartwarming to see him swimming just ahead of, and most definitely with the A34’s, where he has found a place within the family group. Behind them came the A23/25s. There were some excellent A-Clan vocals that we heard via our hydrophone, and we were able to shut the engine and watch as they swam by. We were fortunate enough to see a few full breaches as the larger than life, orca seemed to fly out of the water and land with a big splash. It caused some of us to scream and giggle like little children! It was an absolutely wonderful day of viewing orcas and so much more!

Today’s penned comments:

“Thanks to you. You made one of my dreams real. I hope to be able to come out with you again from France. Thanks and many thanks to the great crew and a special thanks to the great scones made.”
Hubert, Paris, France

“Wonderful scenery, wonderful whales! “Michelle, Sydney, Australia

“Thank you for putting a little gem into our vacation!..Had a great time and will come back!”
Hannah, Kathy, & Darren, Iowa, 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

A beautiful day in the company of gentle giants and other marine species including a Sea Otter!

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The Resident Orcas were far off to the east and west today however, we had wonderful company and viewings aboard the S.V. Tuan. We saw several humpbacks including individuals: Ripple, Guardian, and KC. Some that we observed were foraging in the tidal currents, fully focussed they were engaged in feeding! KC we viewed in the very scenic area out from the White Cliff Islands where the view-scape and back drop showing the Coast Range Mountains today with several photo’s of one of KC’s dive sequence is quite spectacular! The gorgeous hues of the colour blue of the sky and water is accentuated a little more by the contrast of white shown on KC’s fluke. There were Stellar Sea Lions swimming along with us as well as Dall’s Porpoises and hauled out Harbour Seals (mothers and their pups) on the rocks as we travelled via some scenic island waterways. It was very exciting to catch sight of and view at a distance a Sea Otter, this is possibly the same otter that has been in the vicinity for several weeks now and appears to be doing well.

There were also a lot of surface feeding activity with Rhinoceros Auklets, Gull species and Common Murres all were feeding in the tidal current while other bird species seen today included Bald Eagles, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Red-necked Phalaropes and Harlequin Ducks.

Today’s penned comments:

“Amazing tour! Thank you, any day at sea is better than the best day on land. Great sights, great hosts! Thank you” Roanna, Victoria BC

“Beautiful sight-seeing. Loved seeing the whales and sea lions. Best tea & scones we have ever had. Will be telling all our friends and family about this tour, thank you for the excellent hosts!”
Jazaray and Jason, Phoenix, AZ

“Had a great time, would do it all again, wonderful to see the humpback whales” Donna & Mike, Airdrire, Alberta

A fabulous day viewing A-Clan Orcas: A24’s, Humpback Whales and bow-riding Dall’s Porpoise!

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We enjoyed seeing some lovely cetaceans and other fauna today. It was a peaceful morning with harbour seals bobbing about in kelp forests, bald eagles (juvenile and adult) were soaring high in the sky while black turnstones and black oystercatchers could be heard calling across the water. All of a sudden there were a few big splashes at the bow of the boat and dall’s porpoise were seen swimming along with us! It was quite spectacular to see their white patches so clearly under the water as they swam and darted alongside and it was good to see other sightings of them throughout the tour.

We caught a few glimpses of a humpback whale in Blackfish Sound and another nice viewing of Guardian the humpback whale in Johnstone Strait. She was fluking, resting and slowly bobbing at the surface. We were just about to turn around when we got a report of orcas westing towards us in the Strait and decided to linger and make it a longer trip and because of it, we caught a beautiful viewing of the fast swimming A24’s. We made our way back home in Johnstone Strait with salmon jumping all around us.

“I had a very great day seeing the humpback whale and orcas, but my favourite was the Dall’s Porpoise swimming next to us, meeting very friendly people, was nice too. I had an AWESOME day. Thanks! (Thank you Sarah) Rain, Bainbridge Island, WA

“Fabulous day on the water. Nice crew and fellow wildlife enthusiasts. Thank you for such a nice day and for taking the extra time to find us some orca. The baby was super active and jumping like crazy.”
Kimberly and Richard, Bainbridge Island, WA

“Fantastic trip again with Seasmoke. Great wildlife and weather. Thank you!” Jane Tucker, Wales

“Amazing day seeing orca, humpbacks, Dall’s Porpoises, Bald Eagles. Thank you for the experience.”
Nathan Patton, Kentucky

“It was fantastic! Seeing orcas has been our dream, and the dream came true :). This means a lot for us. Thank you very much for the great time, and we promise that we will do something to save the orcas and this beautiful earth!” Nobuko & Masako, Japan

“This trip was amazing. I’ve never seen orcas before. Thank you.”
Frederieke Schmidt, Germany

Morning fog lifting to reveal majestic Humpback Whales ~ fabulous viewing!

IMG_19700102_192740 IMG_19700102_191408 IMG_19700102_191441 IMG_19700102_190611 IMG_19700102_185707 IMG_19700102_184150 IMG_19700102_174631 IMG_19700102_174926There was something beautiful about the fog this morning. Perhaps it was the feeling of floating on a glassy calm sea and having no clue about where we were (poetically speaking of course as we always know where we are!). Perhaps it was the moment the sun burnt through, revealing the paradise around us. As we came into a clear patch, we caught glimpses of one, two, three, four Humpback Whales blowing! The humpbacks went off in different directions and we had a nice viewing of one. Though the whale did not fluke, it would surface frequently and we also observed it resting. As it bobbed slowly at the surface you could see the whiteness of the gigantic pectoral fins under the water, that was truly amazing! There were common murres and rhinoceros auklets calling out and diving as we passed and we heard black oyster catchers peeping as we passed through the islands. Close by was a wonderful view of about fifteen harbour seals hauled out, tails and heads in the air. Something stirred them and in well choreographed unison, they moved their heads about. The mist twirled in thin lines mid air, we could nearly reach out and touch it while it seemed to hug the islands, sneaking in between the passages. At the top of Blackfish sound we dropped the hydrophone in the water to listen for calls of the orcas. Everyone went quiet but all we heard was the hum of boat propellers in the distance. No calls…not yet. The Humpback Whales are wonderful to watch meanwhile!

Today’s penned comment:

“We had an amazing trip today. At first it was very misty, then the sunshine appeared and all of the beautiful islands appeared in little clouds of fog. It’s been wonderful ! We have seen seals and two humpbacks nearby. One of them joined our way and we were deeply impressed with him silently coming up and diving in the deep again. We enjoyed the hospitality on board and the information given on the surroundings and wildlife. Thanks so much for these unique moments, we’ll never forget.” Katja, Jens, Franzisha, and Marlene, Tonisvorst, Germany

~ Blog by Sarah