What a day in which to sail and sail we did with orcas, Bigg’s (Transients) and Residents! Heading out through Weynton Passage this morning a humpback whale was sighted briefly in the waves and shortly after a large splash from a breaching humpback whale was seen a distance away as it headed towards Donegal Head. Orcas were suddenly reported swimming towards Bold Head but with the ebbing current and NW winds blowing strongly today, the orcas slowly made their way angling towards the Plumper Islands amid the wind and cresting waves. Lunging through the waves, we would often see their tails when they dived, their energy was apparent and it was truly awesome watching them moving together in a tight group, a mother and her calf were sometimes seen separated from the others a short distance. Taking long dives we would wait for the orcas to surface again and again, at times we were near to them and other times a distance away. With the wind and the waves we sailed along, tacking back and forth with our mainsail reefed, trailing our hydrophone while sailing, we did not hear any calls for they were silent. The Transient Orcas were identified by Jared Towers (DFO) as the T046C’s: the Matriarch T046C and her two calves: T046C1 & T046C2 and the T059’s: T059 and her daughter T059A, with her two calves: T059A1 & T059A2.
More orcas were reported travelling in from Bold Head a while later and they were Resident Orcas the I15’s! How wonderful it was to see them travelling altogether, moving through Blackfish Sound amid the choppy waters off Bold Head. Their appearance was magnificent and regal as a large group of orcas who are so used to being in the company of each other.
Today, with the NW winds came the Sooty Shearwaters, flying in brown clouds and making an impressive viewing! Until today, there has been no sign of the birds who we have come to expect over the years to arrive around the beginning of September. These birds are on a long migratory flight to breed on small islands in the South Pacific Ocean, mainly around New Zealand, in the Auckland Islands and Phillip Island off Norfolk Island. It is one of the largest migratory routes of any bird species in the world. Recent tagging experiments have shown that birds breeding in New Zealand may travel 74,000 km in a year, reaching Japan, Alaska and California, averaging more than 500 km per day. It is always a treat to see them and today they arrived ‘with clouds’ of them flying all around and landing, to rest and feed before taking flight once again on their long migratory journey across the Pacific Ocean!
It was a wonderful day of sailing and viewing numerous marine species, we are so blessed to live in such a diverse wonderland of marine mammals, sea birds and breathtaking beautiful scenery!
Also seen: harbour seals, stellar sea lions, bald eagles, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, red-necked phalaropes, great blue herons and gull species.
**We are still unable to download our photo’s, these few posted are from our iphone.
Today’s penned comments: “I came here to hopefully see whales and orcas. I did here.The trip was amazing. Lots of wildlife – lots of views. The crew is amazing! Thanks for everything. Also loved the food and drinks! Nice touch. I would do it again for sure! Cheers “~ Margot, Belgium
“Amazing tour, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife. Glad we came.” Marilyn & Stephen, Ontario
“We had a great trip! Saw lots of wildlife. Seeing the orca’s was really amazing. You’ve been very kind and gave us some lovely food. Thank you.” Kim & Yordie, The Netherlands
“We enjoyed our trip with Maureen & Dave so much yesterday, we did another trip with them today!! We saw lot’s of orca’s today and other wildlife. ” Jill & Kim, Qualicum Beach, BC
“Thanks for the fantastic experience!” Sue & Siggi