The Humpback Whales, waves and wind showed all of us a wonderful time!

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October 4, 2016 ~

How marvellous was our last tour of the season where the Humpback Whales, wind and waves showed all of us a wonderful time!

Our sightings: Humpback Whales (10+), an American Mink, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Dall’s Porpoises, Bald Eagles, Common Murres, White-winged Scoters, Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Pelagic Cormorants and Gulls!

With the sun shinning in our eyes the gray-blue waters topped with whitecaps and flocks of gulls hovering just above was so exciting when we first ventured out on our tour.

There was so much to see with Humpback Whale blows rising high in all directions, Great Blue Herons trying to keep balance on rafts of kelp forests, Dall’s Porpoises swimming playfully around us while we sat idle watching, Stellar Sea Lions peering back at us while swimming nearby, Bald Eagles eyeing up a large salmon that was likely caught by one of them, meanwhile a Mink was feeding voraciously upon it as they watched!

The Grand Finale for all of us was absolutely fantastic and drew our season to a close so beautifully!

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All images have been cropped and taken by a telephoto lens.

Magnificent Humpback Whales, bow-riding Dall’s Porpoises and so much more!

Our sightings: Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Two Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Sooty Shearwaters, Belted Kingfishers and Gulls Galore!

Humpback Whales never disappoint! Time and again throughout the season we have used that phrase because no other phrase can fully describe the wonderment and joy that we feel each time we go out on tour and see Humpback Whales! How can we not feel elated and excited when just a few decades ago, Humpback Whales were never seen, and certainly not in 1986 when we first began our tours. To see these magnificent giants back in our area is indeed reason to celebrate.

Today on our tour we saw more than 12 of them and observed foraging behaviour and some fantastic breaching by Yahtzee who, with her calf was among those that we saw (and identified) today along with Merge and Twister. All of us enjoyed the Dall’s Porpoises who joined us bow-riding alongside, darting back and forth in their zigzag fashion under and around our boat.

We also saw, Sooty Shearwaters feeding near the Humpback Whales in flight skimming along the water and diving deep, two Black-tailed Deer grazing on an island, Stellar Sea Lions and Harbour Seals hauled out on rocky outcrops, Bald Eagles perched high on treetops and Belted Kingfishers in flight close along the shoreline of narrow island waterways. How incredible is the world in which we live!

Photo Credits: Robin Quirk and Seasmoke Whale Watching. All photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

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Sooty Shearwater

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Yahtzee and her calf

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Marine Mammal Extravaganza!

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Fern ~ Humpback Whale

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Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas Galore! Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, and Gulls Galore!

Today’s tour has to be one of the best! There were Orcas everywhere and Humpback Whales also. To sit quietly with our engine off and drifting in the current, watching and listening with sights and sounds of Cetaceans in all corners wherever we looked, it was fantastic! The orcas that we identified were: I15’s, A30’s, A23s, A25s, G3s, G16s and possibly more Gs were in the mix! They were extremely vocal and as we sat listening, we could distinguish G and A-Clan calls.

There were 10 Humpback whales in our vicinity of viewing today, among them were White Eyes, Fern and Merge. How marvellous it was to appreciate each and all of the Cetaceans, big and small and to also enjoy the exquisite beauty that was always just a stone’s throw away!

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

A phenomenal day ~ A Minke Whale, Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and more!

September 15th, 2016

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Our sightings: A Minke Whale, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Sooty Shearwaters, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Belted Kingfishers and Gulls galore!

Fog and drizzle greeted us this morning attempting to dampen our spirits but instead, our spirits soared from the onset because of what was then to follow. Like a spell unravelling, the magic began with a near sighting of a Minke Whale soon after we left the dock in Alder Bay! It was a peaceful encounter and we sat observing it in silence for a longtime watching as it surfaced and dived while active in feeding.

We made our way out through Weynton Passage and had a fabulous viewing of two Humpback Whales, one of which was trap feeding nearby. It was an incredible sight to watch as the large whale slowly surfaced with its mouth gaping wide open and its body hanging vertically, seemingly suspended in the water while small shoaling fish (herring) swam into its wide open mouth and then once inside the “trap” the mouth closed.

There was a report of Biggs (Transient) Orcas in George Passage travelling east, some 8-10 orcas who were later identified as the T049s and T019s. Our viewing of them when they unexpectedly surfaced nearby was breathtaking, the images of the big black and white Orcas was stunning to see and filled our hearts and minds to the brim!

Our afternoon tour found us viewing Humpback Whales, some were close while others were in the distance and some of them including Ridge were trap feeding.  The same Biggs (Transient) Orcas as seen on our morning tour were seen near the Sophia Islets in Johnstone Strait, they were in a resting line while T049A1 and T019C we observed were still in close physical contact to one another as they had been on the morning tour, it was wonderful watching the two interact while the other orcas rested nearby.

It was an amazing day with so much to see and presented us with a myriad of Cetacean species, big and small, when porpoises and dolphins also appeared into the mix!

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

Another day of magnificent beauty with A & G-Clan Orcas and Humpback Whales!

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Our sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, a California Sea Lion, Harbour Seals, River Otters, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots and Gulls.

It was an incredible day of viewing on both of our tours and despite the late clearing fog this morning, our sightings of Cetaceans and seabirds was wonderful. The morning tour began with a family of River Otters who were on the dock in Alder Bay and ended with a gorgeous blue sky and blue waters and swirling drifts of fog!

The fog added its own greatness, revealing magnificent beauty including orcas in our surroundings and listening to A & G-Clan vocals via our hydrophone while the fog hung low and heavy was surreal! As the fog lifted further we observed that they were all spread out and some foraging behaviour was seen. A Humpback Whale was also seen who we identified as Ridge.

On the afternoon tour we found the orcas all spread out across Johnstone Strait and heard again their beautiful A & G-Clan vocals. The Orcas we identified were I16s, I65s, I4s (I15s), G2s and the A30s were also likely in the large spreading mix! They were foraging, tail slaps were seen and some resting lines that were mesmerizing to watch.

A small group of dolphins were observed feeding in amongst the resident orcas and chasing after them in their typical harassing play. At one point the orcas surprised us turning back and towards us, and they along with the dolphins surfaced close by as we sat drifting in the current. There were six Humpback Whales, Ridge and Inukshuk among them, with Ridge breaching! Of added interest was a lone California Sea Lion on the rock along with the Steller Sea Lions!

Photo credits: Muriel Halle. All photos have been cropped and taken with a telephoto lens.

An exciting day with Biggs (Transient ) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Dolphins, Porpoises and Sea Lions!

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Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Great Blue Herons and Gulls.

It was an exciting morning for everyone when AJ our skipper looked up at the exact precise  moment and saw dorsal fins in the distance! After a lengthy dive underwater, they finally surfaced, four orcas who were believed to be Biggs (Transient) Orcas and who were later confirmed as Biggs (Transient) Orcas, the T101’s (T101, T102, T101A, T101B). During our time viewing the orcas, we observed them travelling from Stubbs Island and down and back through Cormorant Channel. They went after a Steller Sea Lion swimming alone but were not successful, the Sea Lion was seen swimming in the opposite direction when the orcas turned back.

As well as orcas, there was a large group of some 200+ dolphins who were observed initially off Mitchell Bay, they were steadily on the move, while Dall’s Porpoise’s joined us alongside, bow-riding briefly! It could not have been busier or better to have two Humpback Whales in our vicinity while all else was happening all around us, one of them was Argonaut!

The sea was flat calm today and made it possible for AJ to be lucky to spot the dorsal fins when he did. It was a fabulous Sunday outing and exhilarating to see such a diverse abundance of Cetaceans and seabirds with increased numbers of Common Murres, so close to our home port!

A large group of Dolphins were also observed travelling quickly west in front of Alert Bay when they suddenly turned back to the east, they were travelling fast and were swimming close along the shoreline of Cormorant Island.

Photo credits: Andrew Jennings. Photo’s have been taken with a telephoto lens and have been cropped.

 

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.