Sailing with the A30’s in Johnstone Strait while listening to their A-Clan calls ~ What a treat!

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There are minimal words sometimes to describe the beauty we see. Today we braved strong tidal currents and high winds. We caught sight of a big black dorsal fin thanks to our fellow whale watchers and from then on, had a fantastic visit with the family of resident orcas known as the A30’s. There is one large male in this family (A38)  and he was the first orca that we were able to find amongst the whitecaps in Blackfish Sound. The A30’s were all spread out across the Sound and then came together to pass through a narrow passage in the Plumper Islands, it was beautiful watching them doing so. The smaller members of the group were spy hopping and rolling around quite playfully before, during and after passing through the Passage.

A blow in the distance caught our eyes and we had a brief visit with a humpback whale, it was very lovely and lucky to have these two species in the same area today! There were a few dall’s porpoises we could make out in the whitecaps and some harbour seals hauled out on the rocks as well. With bald eagles flying overhead, we returned to catch up with the orcas again and had the opportunity to cut the motor and sail with them. With our hydrophone trailing behind us while we sailed, we were able to listen to some very loud and clear A-Clan calls as they swam into Johnstone Strait and oh what a treat! The smiles on our faces stayed glued as we made our way out of the wind and through the little islands en route for home.

Today’s penned comments:
“While I’m writing this down I’m having a hot cup of tea and delicious scones. We were lucky enough today to see orca’s and a humpback whale. It is a very nice trip with lots to be seen. Ive enjoyed it very much. Thanks!”                                Thea and Henk from Holland.

“A splendid day on the sea. We had a lot of fun. Thanks.”
Martin & Jo, Germany

“Although we are from Vancouver, this place and this tour were magical. Listening to the orca’s we were watching through the boat’s underwater mic was a highlight.”
Brian & Linda, BC

Humpback and minke whale watching!

Minke Whale: Ripple

Minke Whale: Ripple

3 herring gulls (juvenile and 2nd summer) and 1 hybrid glaucous -winged gulls

Today was an amazing day for viewing cetaceans despite the fog conditions that we encountered early on in our tour that later changed to drizzle. Our sights and sounds began while we were docked in Alder Bay this morning when we heard the distinct blow of a humpback whale nearby but due to the fog that stretched across the Strait we could not see it. Once underway we listened for blows and then

harbour seals

harbour seals

Humpback whale KC - dorsal fin

Humpback whale KC – dorsal fin

suddenly sighted a minke whale disappearing in the fog. The blow of a minke whale is considerably smaller than that of a humpback whale and this was not the sound that we had heard earlier while docked in Alder Bay. After

KC's - fluke on diving

KC’s – fluke on diving

several sightings of the minke whale Ripple (i’d later by Jared), observing as it foraged, and then two bald eagles chasing a gull that luckily escaped, we continued on our way. A small group of pacific white-sided dolphins were sighted and we watched as they foraged intently at the bow and around the boat. Two humpback whales had been reported near Weynton Island and heading in that direction, after some anxious moments and eager anticipation, we heard the blow of a humpback whale and there it was! It was KC (Kelp Creature) the 11 year old humpback whale who has been in the area frequently already this summer and has returned every year since its birth in 2002. We enjoyed some special viewing in quiet waters with KC and following slowly  we observed as he/she made its way through the inside passage of Weynton Island, viewing hauled out harbour seals as we went by. The fog remained heavy and with the current ebbing strongly in Weynton Passage we eventually lost track of KC but caught a brief glimpse of a minke whale in passing. Other sightings today included: dall’s porpoises, rhinoceros auklets, harlequin ducks,  cassins’ auklets, belted kingfishers, bald eagles, a great blue heron and pigeon guillemots.