Humpback Whales breaching, lunge and trap feeding and Dolphins and Sea Lions feeding as well!

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Our sightings: Humpback Whales, Pacific White-sided Dolphins++, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled and Ancient Murrelets, Sooty Shearwaters+, Harlequin Ducks, Pelagic Cormorants and Gulls Galore!

It was another remarkable day in which the weather conditions were changing by the moment and had us departing on our tour in heavy rainfall while arriving back home to a gorgeous afternoon of clearing skies and sunshine!

How good it was to see the Humpback Whales again today! There were at the very least 12 + that we saw including Moon Star, Inukshuk, Freckles, Slash and her calf. We observed lunge and trap feeding and a very close breach by Inukshuk, as well as a close passing of Inukshuk and Freckles as we sat drifting in the current with our engines off.

We had some wonderful viewing of Sea Lions, some of whom were ripping apart fish surrounded by Gulls. There were some 200+ Dolphins swimming amongst Humpback Whales with high jumps seen, we also had them passing by us as we headed for home! Today’s tour gave to all of us breathtaking scenic beauty and phenomenal Cetacean encounters!

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

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

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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.

Humpback Whales in their glory and an ever changing marine world all around us!

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Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots, Common Murres! A Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, a Great Blue Heron, a Sooty Shearwater and Gull species.

It was an incredible day of viewing and an ever-changing marine world all around us! The clouds and fog lifted on our morning tour revealing a beautiful flat calm ocean and Humpback Whales in their glory feeding. There was lunge feeding observed, some was at close range on both tours and an enormous breach was seen along with some five or more whales on the morning tour. As an added bonus, our passengers were very excited when a group of Dall’s Porpoises joined us briefly, bow-riding alongside!

On the afternoon tour, the sun was shinning brightly and a blue sky and ocean filled our eyes with immense beauty! We observed some seven or more Humpback Whales who were lunge feeding++. Freckles we observed tail lobbing and we also saw Slash and her calf! At one point we noticed Freckles surfacing with a gull in its mouth. When the whale opened its mouth and released the gull it swam free but was barely able to float. It was retrieved from the water and given a chance to recover and dry and was then released.

Lunge feeding is intense and birds who are also feeding at the surface (gulls) or diving beneath the water and at the surface (Auklets and Murres), are often injured or trapped momentarily inside the mouth’s of the surfacing Humpback Whales. It is by accident and not by intent as Humpback Whales do not have any teeth and have no interest in feeding on birds.

Steller Sea Lions were active, feeding and swimming in the water and one we observed was eating a fish at a distance. The scenic beauty today was wondrous, we could not have asked for a more beautiful day!

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

A wonderful day with incredible humpback whale viewing plus a sea otter ~unbelievable beauty throughout the area, highlighted by the brightness of the day!

What a day to have chosen to be on the water, with barely a breath of wind and the scenery today was spectacular! The view looking down Johnstone Strait when we first headed out this morning and up through Blackfish Sound later on in the morning was remarkable, the lighting added warmth and beauty enhancing greatly our viewing of natures seascape!

With early reports of orcas travelling east off Adam’s River this morning we headed down Johnstone Strait hoping for their change of movement back to the west. Near Weynton Island we were fortunate in seeing a sea otter, a rare sighting in our area, it was fabulous seeing this otter, lying on its back while drifting in the current. We did not try and get close to the individual, it was good viewing it at a distance so as not to disturb while seeing it nearby! In Blackney Passage we observed a humpback whale blow and as we neared the area, we could see the whale was moving about in wide circles in the region of Blackney Passage and travelling far out into Johnstone Strait, there was herring ball activity++, with rhinoceros auklets and common murres feeding along with gull species and large flocks of red-necked phalaropes were also seen in Blackney Passage in the fast flowing flooding current.

Two more humpback whales were up near Parsons Light, one slipped on down to Blackney Passage during a long dive and we could see its blow far behind the boat when it finally surfaced while another whale surfaced beside us suddenly, giving us quite a surprise as we were not expecting such a close viewing. The current today was at its peak in the flood while we were making our way against it in Blackfish Sound and the whales were moving about in the current considerably! How wonderful was our viewing and then nearing the top end of Blackfish Sound where numerous diving birds had gathered and were resting, another humpback whale was making its way east in the flood and after surfacing twice was soon behind us. Suddenly out of the corner of our eyes, the humpback whale surfaced lunging and looked to be headed directly across the Sound towards where gulls were seen gathering at the surface and feeding on herring. As the gulls flew upwards, we were all eagerly awaiting for it to lunge feed and we were not disappointed when it was suddenly seen opening wide its mouth and was “trap feeding” briefly. The whale was ‘Conger’, a whale who is one of a few individuals in our local waters, observed frequently “trap feeding!”

Also seen today: stellar sea lions++ swimming and hauled out, harbour seals, belted kingfishers, common murre chicks with their fathers x 2, bald eagles & dall’s porpoises. Yesterday was the first day of seeing a common murre chick trailing behind its father calling++, today we saw two chicks, each with their father. The fathers (who are moulting) and their unfledged chicks are extremely vulnerable to boat strike and attack by Biggs (Transient) Orcas at this crucial stage in their lives and it is important for all mariners to be aware of their vulnerability and inability to fly.

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Today’s penned comments: “Fantastic weather, very nice crew and delicious homemade made. We saw lots of whales and other wildlife. Thank you for a beautiful trip.” Christian & Franziska, Germany

“Beautiful weather, gorgeous wildlife, yummy scones and tea, perfect day! Thank you very much, see you next time.”  Peter & Frauke, Inken, Fabian and Miriam, BC

“What a nice and exciting trip with you! Thanks alot for this nice day and the good food (these scones are excellent, yummy!!)” George & Ursula, Switzerland

“One perfect day, very enjoyable, lots of whales, the weather was great, food excellent and the crew very knowledgeable. Thank you very much.” Rowner & Walbunga, BC

An amazing day observing the sights and sounds of the surrounding marine life ~ seeing orcas and humpback whales with brilliant viewing while sailing!

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Today was a day to enjoy the wind and some drops of rain! Not long into the trip, we spotted blows in the distance, it was the I35’s making their way from Weynton Passage across the top end of Johnstone Strait and as they  gracefully swam together, we sailed along with them as the SE winds today enabled us to do so. We soon encountered another pod, the I15s, as they were making their way through Weynton Passage in a resting line. Then came the humpback whales! We were  surrounded by amazing marine life that included stellar sea lions whose roaring growls were heard above the wind as they gathered together, hauled out on a rocky outcrop. As it turned out, the I35’s, circled around the Stephenson Islands before making their way back through Weynton Passage and into Johnstone Strait following after the I15’s and so while we were watching humpback whales off Weynton Island, we again were able to enjoy seeing orcas! On one side of our boat, we had the I35’s and on the other, humpback whales feeding on bait balls formed by diving birds and gulls. One of the humpbacks was trap feeding, allowing us to see its huge mouth gaping through the surface of the water as it fed on herring. We could not help but be amazed by the beautiful sights and sounds of these precious ‘inside waters’ of our BC coast!

Also seen: Dall’s Porpoises, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Harbour Seals, Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles and Gull species.

Today’s penned comments: “It was wonderful, we are so happy to view the orcas and humpback whales. Thank you.” The Pirates from Trum were here! Switzerland, Peter, Raji, Franz, Berli, Wadi & Esther

“Our second trip in 2 days and again breathtaking. Again a wonderful trip. We saw orcas, sea lions and even humpbacks  feeding. We really love how you care about nature and never come too close or chase the animals. We feel how you love nature. We appreciate very much the effort to make vegan muffins & scones. We will come back!” Annelies, Pieter & Willem, Belgium

“This was AWESOME – loved “Devonshire Pass”, Thank you!” R & G and Roxy

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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Viewing of orcas ~ I15’s near the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve

IMG_8072 IMG_8074IMG_7998 IMG_7996 IMG_7995 IMG_8026 IMG_8004 IMG_8029 It was a beautiful day that began with a gorgeous clear view down Johnstone Strait but as we neared Weynton Passage, fog started swirling around us, and obscured us at one point completely. Before the fog and after we had beautiful viewings of hauled out harbour seals, and stellar sea lions who were swimming close along the shoreline, while numerous red-necked phalaropes, rhinoceros auklets and common murres and dall’s porpoise were in the near vicinity. Passing several humpback whales in Blackfish Sound and more sea lions, we carried on and just east of Cracroft Point we encountered orcas ahead of us. The I15’s were spread out, travelling slowly to the east, some we could see were further ahead and looked to be foraging in the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve in the vicinity of the estuary of the Tsitika River; the lighting today was beautiful and their blows looked very high,  seen at a distance away. The matriline group we observed were in a lovely resting line, moving east in the flooding current without any speed and it was beautiful to watch their synchronized surfacing and diving sequences in the soft lighting that appeared!

Todays penned comments: “What a lovely morning! Beautiful sailing following orcas, watching seals and humpback whales that we could count. It is a very long way from Dubai but totally worth it! ” Amalia & Miguel  They mentioned that the temperature today in Dubai was 44 c and a few days ago 47c, air conditioning absolutely is necessary!

“We are having a grand time. This is the way to see “Charismatic Megafauna.” Thanks!” Judi & Bill, Crofton, BC

“We thoroughly enjoyed our morning on the water. Numbers of Phalaropes very impressive, also Rhinoceros Auklets. Great scones! “Tony & Anne-Marie, Ottawa, ON

“Like the first trip with you last year, it was a wonderful experience. Our first Orcas and so much knowledge you shared with us. I will keep on telling everyone how great you are.”                             Elisabeth &  Darall, Austria and Ontario

” A great experience for the whole family. Seeing the orcas was unforgettable and made all the more interesting by hearing about their lives.” Family Lee, UK