Humpback Whales and Orcas ~ a fabulous day!

Heading out this morning there were numerous humpback whales being reported in the area and we travelled first in the direction of them. How beautiful it was cruising through the Plumper Islands en route, observing bald eagles and some of their nests that are now empty of their fledged young! Blackfish Sound looked inviting and the blows of some four humpback whales could be seen, two of which were feeding close to the Plumper Islands shoreline working their way in circles near where a large herring ball had once been with a myriad of watchful sea birds sitting and resting nearby. The current had just turned to flood and more and more auklets and murres began arriving on scene to feed. Orcas were reported travelling to the west at Naka Creek in Johnstone Strait and we headed east in Blackfish Sound, passing stellar sea lions, dalls porpoises (who rode briefly at the bow of our boat as we travelled along), as well, two small groups of pacific white-sided dolphins. Entering Johnstone Strait we were soon in sight of seeing orcas, they were well spread out and had travelled west, passing quickly through the Robson Bight Ecological Park and we encountered them just past the western boundary of the reserve. They continued moving quickly, favouring the Vancouver Island shoreline, some moving centre Strait, travelling and foraging as they went, the A30’s: A50/ A54 with their young calves were swimming closer to the VI shoreline, with A38 more mid Strait yet foraging parallel to his family and it was wonderful listening to A-Clan vocalizations via our hydrophone when we first encountered the orcas coming out of the reserve. There were a number of orcas in the Strait today and well spread out with even more following behind the A30’s and I15’s, likely A5’s who have been in close range as well. Also seen and not yet mentioned: harbour seals, fork-tailed storm petrels, belted kingfishers, red-necked phalaropes and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: “Beautiful weather, nice people, great service; good scones! And the whales and orca’s are amazing! Swimming around the boat and a nice explanation to go with it. Great!                         Greetings from Holland” ~ Marten& Marianne, Collin, Sheila and Zoe

“Thank you for a wonderful tour. Lots of local knowledge and so nice to have a proper Devonshire tea!”                    ~ Kalinya & Tony, Australia

“Hard to find words that describe the moment when we could clearly see the first whale fin. Maureen had prepared us with information that helped us understand what we saw. Best high tea in the new world! Thanks Maureen & Dave” ~Joyce, BC

“What a beautiful land we live in and this visit to this part of BC has been so great! Today’s trip to see whales was so magnificent – humpbacks, orcas, porpoises, pacific white-sided dolphins! Wow, wow, wow. And the scenery of islands, rocks and birds completed a perfect trip, not to mention the muffins and scones – loved them! ~ Nina, Ontario

“It is great to be able to sit and see, hear and feel the sound/seascape of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound today. The humpbacks were wonderful to hear and see, the orca though they were foraging quite quickly were special to see. Thank you Maureen and David. My four school mates I have not seen for over 30 years and they  had a wonderful time on your Seasmoke Tours. As I sit writing I am listening to them laugh and sing. Blessings and love” ~ Rob, BC

“I didn’t want to come on the trip because I get motion sickness. However, if Robin had told me from the first that there would be delicious muffins and scones on boards I would have signed on immediately. The scenery was beautiful and the weather perfect. Thank you! ~ Lisa, Ontario

 

 

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Orcas, Humpback and Minke Whales ~ superb viewing!

It was another fabulous day of sunshine, calm waters and the sky and sea reflected a lovely shade of blue that was pleasing to the eye, the scenery was breathtaking and beautiful as well! Once again, the two juvenile river otters amused us while we were docked at the Alder Bay Resort prior to our tour departure and one cannot help but be amused by their playful antics! When we headed out this morning we were soon in sight of orcas, the I15’s were spread out from Bauza Islets across the Strait to almost the Pearse Islands and we encountered them as they drew parallel to the Stephenson Islands as they made their way out through Weynton Passage in the ebbing current. It was amazing to see the spread of dorsal fins, some near and some far, all across Weyton Passage travelling directly north they went and while passing through the Passage a humpback whale was seen across the Plumper Island shoreline. We had a fabulous view of two orcas who suddenly changed direction and headed towards our boat as it sat idle and drifting and soon they were alongside where we could look down through the water at their sheer size and beauty! Also swimming with the I15’s again today were two pacific white-sided dolphins, quite possibly the two that we have seen travelling with them in recent days. With our hydrophone deployed we heard some brief G-Clan calls from the I15’s which was wonderful to listen to. Turning back we enjoyed viewing three humpback whales, one of whom was Argonaut, we also had sightings of two minke whales on the way home. On our afternoon tour we also enjoyed an early sighting of two minke whales shortly after departing from Alder Bay, they were steadily foraging in the ebbing current of Pearse Passage.  Following this, we were soon in the company of humpback whales who were fabulous to watch, especially when ‘Argonaut’ at one point surprised us with a brilliant full breach that two passengers onboard were lucky to photograph, especially lucky as the breach was spontaneous and close by! The viewing of two eaglets in their nest alongside of one of the parents was also a special treat to see. Also seen today: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots, fork-tailed storm petrels, red-necked phalaropes, belted kingfishers and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: It was amazing! We saw a lot of orcas and whales. What beautiful animals and sea. Thank you for the wonderful day! ~ Thomas & Afra, The Netherlands

A trip never to forget! Thanks for your passion about whales! ~ Demoor Family, Belgium

Beautiful trip, no orcas but plenty of whales, beautiful surroundings and perfect weather. We loved it!                      ~ de Ronde Family, NetherlandsIMG_9702 IMG_9688 IMG_9701 IMG_9709 IMG_9714 IMG_9717 IMG_9737 IMG_9750 IMG_9778 IMG_9792 IMG_9794 IMG_9799 IMG_9817 IMG_9820 IMG_9859 IMG_9686

 

Humpback Whales in their element of wind and waves and breaching!

It was a fabulous day with strong NW winds blowing and sunshine which was welcomed after recent days of heavy fog in the waterways that we travel. It was at the top end of Blackfish Sound that we sighted our first humpback whale and while it passed us heading to the west quickly in the ebbing current, we carried on and could not believe the number of humpback whales present towards the bottom end of Blackfish Sound with five more counted spread across the Sound, possibly six with Argonaut among them! Ahead of this we had bow-riding dall’s porpoises which was truly exciting, especially for the children onboard. One of the humpback whales could be seen breaching and tail lobbing a distance away which all added to the atmosphere of wind, waves and whales and it was extremely exhilarating for everyone watching. We made our way back through Blackfish Sound passing more dall’s porpoises and a small group of harbour porpoises. It was amongst the Plumper Islands that passengers enjoyed a quiet time of viewing pristine waterways with bald eagles soaring and perched on high, with eagle nests with one eaglet seen in a nest, and kelp forests flowing in the current; it was quietly beautiful, travelling slowly and all while partaking of our Devonshire Teas. Nearing Alder Bay a minke whale was sighted and a second one shortly after!

Today’s penned comment: 

We had such a beautiful time, enjoyed every lasting moment, not in my dreams would I ever think or imagine it being so beautiful. Well instructed and well taking care of and very well informed, like being on a science tour. I’m from the Island but this really brings home how beautiful our Island is! Best tour in our life time!!

Judy Rumley ~ Duncan, BCIMG_6722 IMG_6734 IMG_6753 IMG_6754 IMG_6755 IMG_6756 IMG_6765 IMG_6770 IMG_6771 IMG_6780 IMG_6474

A Trio of Minke Whales, KC the Humpback Whale and bow-riding Dall’s Porpoises!

What can I say, it was a fantastic day with so much happening along the way! A minke whale was seen by some lucky passengers waiting for us in Alder Bay but it had cleared the area by the time of our departure. As we made our way towards Stubbs Island and passing Pearse Reefs in Cormorant Channel, dall’s porpoises were seen briefly ahead of a fog bank into which we were suddenly engulfed, the fog swirling around us while sunshine could be seen above, a humpback whale had also been reported in close vicinity. We headed towards Blackfish Sound and as the fog began dispersing quickly with a light breeze blowing, a humpback whale was seen and quickly identified as KC, a 12 year old whale who has frequented the area each summer since first arriving as a new calf with his mother Houdini, in 2002. It is always a treat to see KC, he never disappoints and he is also one of the easiest humpback whales in the area to identify. We travelled back via beautiful island waterways; in their glory today with golden kelp forests spreading far and wide with the Coast Range Mountains providing a breath-taking fusion of land, sea and water; it was collectively breath-taking. As we were making our way homeward, nearing Alert and Alder Bay’s, two Minke whales were suddenly seen surfacing together, a kilometre away. What joy to see the two, surfacing almost simultaneously, while travelling together and then unbelievably a third one surfaced just behind the other two! Amazing and extraordinary to see a trio of Minke Whales! The minke whales have been identified thanks to Jared as being: Bolt, Eclipse and Rapid all three of which are documented in Jared’s Minke Whale Catalogue 2011 and also (www.mersociety.org/researchminkes.htm). Also seen today: harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, black oyster catchers, herring gulls, pigeon guillemots.

Testimonial of the day by Reena and Dan: The Seasmoke Whale Watching trip was a lot of fun. Weather was gorgeous and the sea was calm. We got to see lots of dall’s porpoises and seals and got to hang out with a humpback whale named KC! Maureen and Dave were a lot of fun, have a lot of great information on the area and are very knowledgeable about the local wildlife. Huge bonus: fresh baked blueberry muffins w/tea & coffee in the morning and my absolute fave- fresh scones, jam and cream with tea on the way home. Actually the huge bonus just happened right after writing the above. We just spotted 3 minke whales right out of Alert Bay! A rare sighting! It was amazing! This tour was definitely worth every penny for the great sightings and views.KC ~ Humpback Whale IMG_4368 IMG_4380 IMG_4398 IMG_4404 IMG_4415 IMG_4423 IMG_4436 IMG_4441 IMG_4483 IMG_4549

 

Humpback Whale and bow-riding Dall’s Porpoises ~

Passengers on board S.V. Tuan enjoyed a beautiful day on the water and early on in the tour sighted a black bear on a beach and then the blow of a humpback whale in the distance in Blackfish Sound. The current was flooding and as we progressed and made our way into Weynton Passage we could see the whale was also making its way in as well and observed it taking long dives with 5-6 breathes between the dives. A second humpback whale was also sighted later down in Blackfish Sound. The day was a beautiful one for cruising through the island waterways and at one point we enjoyed the presence of a small group of dall’s porpoises riding at our bow. Also seen today: bald eagles++ and an eaglet on the nest, harbour seals (mothers and pups), pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros and cassin’s auklets, glaucous-winged and mew gulls.  Thanks to Jackie of MERS, she has confirmed our whale today as ‘Cutter’.IMG_3818 IMG_3824 IMG_3825 IMG_3827 IMG_3853IMG_3856 IMG_3859 IMG_3864 IMG_3866 IMG_3867