A30s and A42s ~ Beautiful viewing!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas, Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

What beautiful weather we are all enjoying on the North Island! Today was a gorgeous one, made even more so with the appearance of the A30s into Johnstone Strait, they having arrived into the area last evening where they joined with the A42s! The morning was a wonderful one and we all enjoyed seeing the two families, close together, travelling slowly west near Kaikash in Johnstone Strait. Their A-Clan vocalizations were beautiful to listen to!

Afterwards, we ventured into Weynton Passage where fog had settled for a while and there we saw a Humpback Whale and Steller Sea Lions frolicking in the kelp forests.

This afternoon, Bigg’s (Transient) Orcas went by Alert Bay, they were the T0137s. People enjoyed watching and taking their photographs from the shore!

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

 

Orcas: C10’s, a humpback whale and a sea otter with fantastic viewing!

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What an incredible afternoon that we all so enjoyed! The sun was shining, it was warm on the water and there are so many highlights to talk about including a beautiful blue sky and ocean!

We encountered the C10’s, one of the pods of Northern Resident Orcas who arrived into our area yesterday morning. They were all spread out and westing near Bauza Islets. We listened in awe on our hydrophone to their A-Clan calls and it was so beautiful listening to them in this manner! We were lucky at one point to see them surface nearby surprising us all when we were not expecting to see them so close as we sat idle and drifting.

Later on in our tour we encountered a humpback whale and observed several half breaches and tail slaps. After four 10 minute long dives, it surfaced just as we were departing and a guest motioned to us all that it was breaching and tail slapping!

It could not have been any better but then we spied a Sea Otter rolling around in a kelp forest and what an incredibly exciting viewing that was. As we observed, we all became aware of the ebbing current passing us by, and noticed that the bull kelp was aligned and flowing in the direction of the rapidly moving ebbing waters. We ended our tour viewing Bald Eagles and their nests and hauled out Harbour Seals.

Sightings seen today: Northern Resident Orca’s: C10’s, a Humpback Whale, Bald Eagles, Harbour Seals,  Black Turn Stones, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Black Oyster Catchers, Gulls and a Sea Otter!

Please note: all photos are cropped and are taken with a telephoto lens on our blog posts.

An abundance of marine-life and spectacular scenic beauty !

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Numerous Harbour seals, an abundance of Bald Eagles and countless Red-necked Phalaropes kept us busy on our tour this morning. It’s as though the bird life had tripled since the previous tour, so perhaps a good sign that food has arrived in the area.

Although the skies were laden with clouds, the rain stayed away on the distant horizon and the water was so calm, hardly a ripple existed. We spent the beginning of our tour drifting gently with the slack current, meandering through narrow channels in search of all creatures great and small. Harbour seal pups swam in the shadows of their parent and Bald Eagles investigated their surroundings from the tops of cedar trees.

Out in the open waters of Queen Charlotte Strait, we searched for blows of humpback whales. The hundreds of Phalaropes that fed from the water beside our boat was an easy distraction as it was mesmerizing watching their dainty feet, tip toeing on the surface of the ocean.

We headed deeper into Blackfish Sound and our first blow was sighted just in front of Orca lab on Hanson Island. What a treat it was to watch the breath of this lone humpback lingering in the still air as it surfaced. Eventually we had a good look at the underside of the fluke and one of my guests got a fabulous photo. We were able to identify the whale as Guardian. She seemed to have changed her foraging location. How hard she was working, in search of food and we can only image the energy she consumes in this process.

We are truly blessed having such an array of wildlife in our backyard and how delightful it is to share this with interested, eager and friendly visitors!

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A humpback whale and some 17 Biggs (Transient) orcas ~ A fantastic sighting!

It was a moody day on the water as the air was still, lingering fog clung to the ocean surface and wispy clouds drifted amongst the trees. Rain threatened for most of the morning and finally down-poured towards the end of the tour.

The rain did not bother our hardy guests because we were too distracted by our wildlife extravaganza! Only minutes out of Alder Bay we saw a 3 meter whale blow lift high and upwards to the sky. A humpback whale was cruising at quite a speed westbound towards Cormorant Island. We stayed with it for some time as it was heading in the direction we wanted to go. A number of times it dove deep so we could see the unique markings on the underside of the fluke.

Shortly after, we received a call over the radio announcing a group of 17 or so Orca travelling mid strait towards the west. At first the whale watching community thought they were a resident pod but after photo’s were taken and a closer look was had, they were identified as Bigg’s (Transient) Orca’s.

They travelled at a great speed, staying close together in a tight group, all surfacing to take a breath at the same time. A new calf was visible as it porpoised out of the water, while doing its best to keep up with the adults. It was a grand sight to see, these magnificent creatures rising to the surface to take a breath, their black and white colouration stunning looking against a grey back drop.

Once back alongside the dock, our guests disembarked the boat, wearing grins as wide as the pacific. What a fabulous morning on the water for all of us!

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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

A fantastic day of viewing ~ a breaching humpback whale and bow-riding dalls’ porpoises!

IMG_1552What an incredible day we all shared ! Early on in the tour we enjoyed the thrill of dall’s porpoises joining us and riding at the bow of our boat. The scenery today was magnificent with kelp forests glistening in the sunshine and the island waterways were precious and timely as we quietly made our way and hauled out harbour seals were unperturbed as we passed on by. It was in Blackfish Sound where we encountered a humpback whale moving quickly in the fast ebbing current and were totally unprepared when it suddenly breached near the stern of our boat taking us all by surprise. Having glimpsed the whale only briefly before it disappeared on a dive, our last sighting of the whale was several 100 meters away, hence our utter disbelief and sheer excitement at seeing it airborne! Some on board were lucky to have their camera’s click at just the right moments and obtained some wonderful photo’s! It breached a second time and then lay holding its pectoral fin high. How awesome and unforgettable were those moments of sheer ‘power and momentum’!

From the markings on its fluke and dorsal fin, we identified the whale as ‘Guardian’, our first sighting of this whale for us this summer! Guardian has frequented our waters since 2011 and is one of many who is regulary seen throughout our summer and early fall months. Also observed today: a mink, river otters, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pacific loons, bald eagles and gull species.

Today’s penned comments:     Very likeable and informative trip! Thank you. The humpback whale (Guardian) showed us how mighty they can be and the shots!!! Thanks for the fantastic photo’s. Martine and Christian ~ Germany

The humpback whale is here and it was very magnificent! Photo’s and video, unbelievable! Fantastic!   Porpoises photo’s also. Thank you so much Maureen and David. The voyage was so wonderful! Evelyn & Jos ~ Netherlands/France

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A fantastic day with some quiet moments spent in the presence of a humpback whale named Ojos Blancos / White Eyes, as well as a minke whale sighting!

How fabulous was our day, with sunshine and sparkling waters and glorious hues of blue reflected in the sea and sky! Our encounter with the humpback whale Ojos Blancos was an exciting one and breathtaking to say the least! It was Roberto from Milan, Italy who first sighted the whale surfacing a distance behind our boat in Weynton Passage as we were making our way towards Blackfish Sound. Luckily for us, Roberto (now called our ‘Whale Man’), was looking in the right direction at the right moment. We watched spellbound as the whale took its time circling back and forth in Weynton Passage in the flooding current. Taking some 3-10 minute dives with 6-13 breathes between dives, we so enjoyed watching this whale,  intent on feeding, unperturbed by our presence. Leaving the whale to forage, we carried on exploring the magical Plumper Island waterway’s, observing numerous bald eagles and their nests and hauled out harbour seals, we also enjoyed a brief encounter of a small group of dall’s porpoises riding at the bow of our boat. It was on our way home that we sighted a minke whale and although it was too far away to accurately identify the whale, thanks to Christie, we now know that both Bolt and Rapid were sighted in the area that we passed through today. We also observed: pigeon guillemots, stellar sea lions, rhinoceros auklets, belted kingfishers, cormorants (pelagic and double-crested), common murres, pacific loons, and gull species.

Today’s penned comments ~

It’s been a great “first” whale experience! The sight of a close humpback whale makes you shiver with excitement and gratefulness…. Thank you so much for sharing your whale stories with us. Alessandra & Roberto (The Whale Man).

Ps: we will be back for the orcas. ~ Milan/Rome, Italy

Beautiful sunny day on the water. Dall’s porposes and a multitude of eagles. The star of the show (and a check on my bucket list) was the humpback whale. The scones and tea were fantastic, really good tea – strong in a brown betty. Maureen and Dave are really knowledgeable and obviously love this gorgeous place. Will recommend this trip to everyone. The boat is smooth and sturdy. Thank you for a great day ~ Lois, Todd and Sam, Parksville, BC

What a beautiful day on the boat. Happy to see a humpback and minke whale and also porpoises! Second time for me with Seasmoke, first time for Bikkki. Thank you Dave and Maureen! I’m sure we will be back. ~ Kim & Biiki, Ontario

Had a wonderful time. Thank you! First time on a sail boat. Was a beautiful peaceful day. Thanks so much for the information shared about the marine life. Spectacular sighting of the humpback, made my day.                                    Thanks ~ Lisa & Jeff, Vancouver, BC

Dear people, It was a wonderful trip. We enjoyed it very much. It was a spectacular!

Thank you so much for everything. ~ Martin en Yvonne from Holland.

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