A fantastic day of viewing on both of our tours ~ Orcas, Humpback Whales, bow-riding Dolphins and Porpoises!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-side Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Common Murres, a Great Blue Heron, a Surf Bird and Gull species.

It was an amazing day that we shared with many Cetaceans beginning with Orcas who were first encountered in Blackfish Sound, the A30s! It was fabulous to watch as they travelled east in the Sound, they were hunting and food sharing, socializing and rolling over one another, especially the younger calves; tail and pectoral fin slapping was also observed.

Along the way we encountered  four or more Humpback Whales, one came nearby en-route while travelling. We also enjoyed the presence of Pacific White-sided Dolphins and Dall’s Porpoises who separately came alongside and also rode at our bow as we travelled along, it was a real treat for us all to enjoy!

On our afternoon tour we encountered the A30s in Johnstone Strait as they had turned back to the west at Izumi Rock. There was a group of some 20+ Dolphins who were among the Orcas feeding with them and also harassing them so at that point we observed that the orcas were taking long dives in their attempt to out smart the dolphins! Later, with our hydrophone deployed, we were able to listen to the A30s beautiful A-Clan vocalizations.

There were two Humpback Whales, one came by very close as we sat drifting in the current. We observed some pectoral fin slapping and enjoyed watching as the whales swam in wide circles, going back and forth around us. A final treat that was a delight for us all to see were some bow-riding Dall’s Porpoises who also had their young come alongside. It was an amazing day to say the least!

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

A day of Biggs (Transient ) Orcas ~ a beautiful day and evening on the water!

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Today’s Sightings: Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Dalls Porpoises, Harbour seals++, Humpback Whales, Stellar Sea lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Red-necked Phalaropes++, Cassin’s Auklets,  Black Oystercatchers, Marbled Murrelets, Black Turnstones and Rhinoceros Auklets+++. Beautiful Intertidal marine life: Sea Urchin, Anemone and Sea Stars!

It was an incredibly intense day with the viewing of Biggs (Transient) Orcas on our morning and afternoon tours and Humpback Whales on our evening tour. Biggs (Transient ) Orcas prey mostly on marine mammals unlike Northern Resident Orcas who target mostly Spring Salmon. The Transients (T046s) were on the hunt this morning and a Stellar Sea Lion finally managed to escape by heading to shore after an intense battle. The Transients travelled into Johnstone Strait via Weynton Passage and then turned east while yet another group travelled east in Blackfish Sound. The leading group of these Transients were the T019s and T018 who continued east in Johnstone Strait while others, the T060s, T090s and T02B ventured into Baronet Passage and these orcas we viewed on our afternoon tour.

Highlights were numerous throughout the day, not only of orcas but also of numerous Humpback Whales which included Freckles among the sighting of six on our evening tour. There were hundreds of Rhinoceros Auklets feeding this evening, it was amazing to see them diving under water and reappearing with herring in their beaks! The evening tour was made magical with a beautiful tail lob by a Humpback Whale and a glorious setting sun as the grand finale!

Photo credits: Sarah Hauser. Please note that the photos have been taken by telephoto lens and cropped for viewing purposes.

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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It was a phenomenal day ~ Orcas, Humpback and Minke Whales with brilliant viewing!

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What a glorious day to be out on a tour, with calm waters, a blue sky and a glassy blue sea. Cruising through the islands en route to orcas we had an early treat of viewing two humpback whales, one of which we saw tail lobbing at a distance away; it  was a great start to the day and everyone was excited in their anticipation of seeing more cetaceans. In Blackfish Sound we observed numerous humpback whale blows in all directions also orca fins were ahead of us while others we could see were far behind. The A30’s were swimming against the ebbing current, moving slowly east towards Blackney Passage while the A23’s and A25’s were ahead of them, also were reported, the A42’s! It was an incredibly beautiful sight to see, their sleek black and white bodies in contrast to and against the background of the brilliant blue water in which they swam.

Behind us we observed a humpback whale travelling in our direction and with our engine off, we drifted in the current, still looking forwards at the orcas but also mindful of the humpback whale coming closer. We fully expected to see it surface a distance ahead, instead it came alongside just under the surface of the water and we could all clearly see the white underside of its pectoral fins passing by so close to the boat. It was a profoundly moving experience for everyone on board to experience, its sheer size and beauty glimpsed momentarily gliding just beneath the water was unforgettable! The whale we have identified as being Conger, a whale who has frequented these waters in the summertime for a number of years.

We made our way further west in Blackfish Sound and enjoyed the approaching large number of orcas; the I15’s and the G27’s who were travelling with them. The orcas were travelling slowly in a wonderful resting line with a single pacific white-sided dolphin in their lead, like the other orcas before them they were taking their time, relaxed and swimming in their mesmerizing surfacing and diving sequence, against the ebbing current. Breathtaking to watch and to also listen to, all the while humpback whales were feeding on either side of the boat, our dilemma being, which way to look?

On our way back through the islands we all enjoyed the tranquil beauty found in those waterways, no other boats passed by us, only birds, stellar sea lions, harbour seals and a mink running along a beach were present and as we were nearing Alder Bay, for the finale, a minke whale was sighted feeding close to shore.  Other birds also seen: rhinoceros auklets, common murre, red-necked phalaropes, belted kingfishers, bald eagles and an eaglet in a nest, black oyster catchers, black turnstones and gull species.

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Today’s penned comments: ” Great day, great landscape, lots of whales, great people who give that to all of us! Perfect! Thanks a lot for such a beautiful day.” Asrid and Jurgen,Germany

“Orcas, humpbacks, stellar sea lions, eagles, blue sky and flat calm. There are those days to spend a day. Lovely day and lovely scones. Very peaceful floating about with the whales and orca. But really, I can’t sing!” Luca, Netherlands

“Beautiful day on the water, thank you so much. The islands, the water, the whales, the food, the company, the entire experience was glorious! Cheers.” Keith, BC

“A very beautiful and great day on the water and on your boat. We saw a lot of orcas, humpbacks and sea lions. A great experience for us. Everything was fine and well done. We enjoyed it and maybe one day we have the chance to come back.” Ralf & Melanie

‘I’m really glad I came back after last year whale watching. Beautiful day, friendly crew and so many orcas! Best way to celebrate my birthday.Thank you!” Katerina, Czech Republic

‘Our whale watching tour today was simply superb! The friendly crew was fantastic and the sailboat was a great way to view the abundant sea life. The sheer numbers of whales we observed was far beyond our expectations! Thank you for a beautiful experience.” Nanaimo, BC

Very professional guided tour and a wonderful way. It has been a nice and respectful way of approaching whales. Friendly and super hospitality as well Devonshire tea was delicious. Thank you so much! Vancouver, BC

The wonderment of it all ~ humpback whales, orcas, dall’s porpoise and gulls galore!

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August 5th, 2015: What a day we had today! It began with rain that was heavy with fog forming in Weynton Passage where we could see some blows from humpback whales along the edge of the Plumper Islands. We were watching a humpback whale that was taking long dives and as the fog and rain loomed ahead of us we cruised instead in the direction of Cracroft Point in Johnstone Strait and in doing so headed towards a brightening sky and a humpback whale that was going in the same direction. We enjoyed some quiet viewing time close along the shoreline on Hanson Island and it was beautiful watching the diving sequence of the whale in the stillness of the day. In Blackney Passage three or more humpback whales were in the area as were several stellar sea lions swimming in the current and two black-tailed deer were up on an island grazing. Ahead of us Blackfish Sound looked and was very welcoming, the sky was a brilliant blue with wonderful colours in the clouds and soon too, the sun was shinning! There were humpback whales at the top end of Blackfish Sound and literally hundreds of gulls were gathered and feeding, the most gulls that we have seen all summer and the area was alive with birds flying in all directions and feeding intensely, it was an incredible sight. Rhinoceros auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes and bald eagles were also seen but the gulls out numbered all of them today.

On the afternoon tour, orcas were reported travelling to the west through the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve.  And, just as they did the evening before, the A23’s and A25’s carried on and passing the western boundary of the reserve, they continued to travel close along the Vancouver Island shoreline, foraging as they went. The westerly winds enabled us to once more raise our mainsail and sail quietly with the orcas. It was wonderful when a humpback whale suddenly surfaced simultaneously as did an orca, they passed at close range, but going in opposite directions. Two dall’s porpoise came alongside and rode at our bow for a short while, what a way to end our tour! The lighting was gorgeous as had been the sun shinning, all of the afternoon!

Today’s penned comments: “Thank you for taking us on your tour today. It started off a bit rainy but the sun shined on many tails of whales we saw. Loved your homemade goodies!” Jan. Jens & Marte, Netherlands

“Thank you for this tour. It was a bit rainy but the sun broke through. We enjoyed the whales and your muffins and scones.” fam de bel, the Netherlands

“Thank you for yet another memorable trip on your boat. It started out in the rain and now the sun is out and we can see how beautiful it is here!” Margret & Barbara de Jong, the Netherlands

“Thank you so much for arranging this awesome trip. We did not only enjoy the boat ride but also your hospitality…the coffee and scones were a life saver! Plus of course thanks for showing us some of the most amazing creatures the ocean has to offer up close. The trip finished off great…being accompanied home by two porpoises. Thanks so much! love from Switzerland.” Fauie, Silja, Rita & Jurg

“Thank you so much for this amazing experience! We saw orcas, whales and porpoises, some just beneath the boat (porpoises). It was an amazing experience to be on the boat with such nice owners with so much enthusiasm. The muffins, scones and tea were delicious and the beautiful weather made it complete. Love from Holland!” Marc, Cili, Lex, Roel and Dian

“Many thanks for the best catering and whale watching, it was great! We were lucky to take your sailing boat, we would recommend your team to our friends.” Laffra Family, Hamburg, Germany

  • We apologize but our internet connection has been very slow and inconsistent in Alert Bay in the last few days which makes it difficult to post our blog and photo’s

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

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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.

An amazing day spent in the company of Humpback Whales and Gulls and Bald Eagles who were feeding on herring balls!

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We saw more harbour seals than we’ve seen all season hauled out on an exposed rock in the super low tide this morning. We made our way in the fog toward the bottom of Blackfish Sound where there were some five Humpback Whales feeding, one we identified as Guardian. Another we observed swimming very close to the cliffs which was fabulous to watch and we had some exceptional viewing with wonderful flukes to be seen! We also saw a very large stellar sea lion who looked like he might have had a bite taken out of him, he appeared to be okay because we saw him feeding and fending off gulls. On our way home we had a great view of hundreds of gulls and several bald eagles swooping in on a herring ball in the current in Weynton Passage, it was quite the sight to see. It was another successful day on the water and yes, we sailed with the whales in the light westerly winds that were blowing! Also seen today: dall’s porpoise, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, red-necked phalaropes, gull species, pelagic cormorants and bald eagles.

Today’s penned comments:

“Very good sailing. Many whales and scones :). Magnifique!” Julien and Agnes, France

“Lovely trip, we really enjoyed ourselves.” Cindy and John, mid-island Nanoose

“Merci vieten Rank, thank you, exciting sailing.” Ursula, Thomas, and Geraldine, Switzterland