Another day of magic on blue waters with Orcas, Humpback Whales and so much more!

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Black Oystercatcher

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Common Murres

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Our sightings: Biggs (Transient) Orcas, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Bald Eagles, a Great Blue Heron, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, Surf Scoters, an American Robin and Gulls.

It was a glorious day that grew even more beautiful later into the morning when we departed on our tour. Once again it was Biggs (Transient) Orcas who were in the area today, this time they were identified as the T002Cs of which we had some exceptional viewing.

We observed a Humpback Whale identified as Argonaut who was taking long dives and working the area while feeding in wide circles; our passengers enjoyed a beautiful close viewing on one passing!

There is increasing evidence of bait balls and birds gathering to feed with increasing numbers especially of Common Murres who have been late arriving into our area this season. The wonderful mix of Steller Sea Lions, Seals and birds that we saw while cruising slowly through some quiet island waterways where Bull Kelp forests sparkled in the sunlight was just as fascinating as all of the other magic that we witnessed today!

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

Orcas: A42s, frolicking Sea Lions and Breaching Humpback Whales, again and again!

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Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas: A42s, Humpback Whales, Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, a White-tailed Deer, Rhinoceros and Cassin’s Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Bald Eagles, Belted Kingfishers, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Common Murres, a Great Blue Heron and Gull species.

The A42s were there again, feeding inside the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve, they were also spending quality time at the rubbing beaches! We cannot enter into the Reserve and so our viewing of the orcas when they are inside the Reserve is from a distance of a 1000 metres.

As well today, on both of our tours we enjoyed numerous Humpback Whale sightings with four whales observed on the morning tour and twelve on the afternoon tour. The Humpback Whales identified were Freckles, Lucky, Maude and her calf, Frosty, Ridge and Zig Zag. A rare visitor to our area, this particular whale was sighted for the first time this summer only yesterday and was seen breaching ++ in Johnstone Strait on the morning tour. The activity we observed by the Humpbacks today was mostly lunge feeding and some fantastic breaching!

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

An exciting Orca day: A5s, A24s, A34s/A46 and several Humpback Whales!

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Today’s Sightings:

Northern Resident Orca’s: A34’s with A46, A24’s with the A5’s surfing in the wake of a cruise ship (see photo). There were several Humpback whales including Guardian,  Dall’s porpoises, and harbour seals. Bald Eagles with a chick in the nest, learning to fly, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, California Gulls, Herring Gulls, Marbled Murrelets, Cassin’s Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Turnstones and Black Oyster Catchers.

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

 

 

What a way to spend a day ~ seeing Orcas, Humpback Whales and so much more!

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Sightings: Northern Resident Orcas – A42’s, A23’s, A25’s, Humpback Whales, Dall’s porpoises, harbour seals,  Steller sea lions, Bald Eagles, a Hybrid porpoise, Belted Kingfishers, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots, California Gulls, Black Oystercatchers, Rhinoceros Auklets and a Mink.

The day was a beautiful one for being out on the water and on both of our tours we enjoyed some incredible viewing of both Humpback Whales and Orcas as well as a myriad of other wildlife.

On our morning tour we encountered Northern Resident Orcas – the A5s (A23s, A25s and A42s) and four Humpback Whales. When A61 passed nearby we were all in awe of his sheer size and magnificence and watched as he foraged back and forth around us. We also observed some resting behaviour by the orcas when they formed a resting line and slowly made their way back to the east. We watched in amazement the speed of some Red-necked phalaropes as they raced on by us as we made our way back home!

On the afternoon tour we found ourselves once again in the company of the A5 orcas, the Matrilines A25s, A23s and A42s. We were delighted to see a breaching orca calf followed by it porpoising!  There were two humpback whales in the area, one was identified as Freckles. One of the highlights of the afternoon was the sighting of a hybrid porpoise observed amongst some bow riding Dall’s porpoises and then we sighted a mink running along the shoreline in a quiet passage en-route for home.

It truly was a remarkable day seeing so much on both of our tours and so close to home!

 

 

Orcas, Humpback Whales, Porpoises, Dolphins and a visit by a Hummingbird!

Playing in the bull kelp!

Playing in the bull kelp!

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Our sightings:
Northern Resident Orcas: A25’s/A23’s, A42’s, several Humpback Whales including a mother and her calf, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers, a Rufous Humming Bird and Gull species.

It was an amazing morning that we shared with our passengers including two families who have sailed with us on the S.V.Tuan several times in previous years. It was fabulous to see them all waiting on the dock for us in Alder Bay and for them to experience such a great day of viewing on board M.V. Seasmoke!

It was also a great morning for early sightings of orcas, beginning with a tall dorsal fin surfacing close to the shore at the Bauza Islets. Making his way into Beaver Cove we identified A60 in the lead followed by his sister A43, both were foraging and resting briefly. There were Pacific White-sided dolphins foraging nearby at Lewis Point and two more orcas who we later identified as A61 and A85 (A25’s). Although we listened on our hydrophone the orcas were mostly silent and we heard just a few calls when A69 and her calves caught up to A43 and A60.

We enjoyed superb viewing as the A23 Matriline began making their way north across Johnstone Strait in the direction of Weynton Passage with A61 and A85, following behind them.

The morning became even more active with sightings of three humpback whales feeding in circles in Weynton Passage, Dalls Porpoises ‘rooster tailing’ nearby and orcas travelling out through Weynton Passage! As we sat quietly with our boat engines off, a Rufus Humming Bird buzzed around us and on several occasions landed on passengers clothing, again and again, attracted by the bright colours of their suits and the children’s life jackets. It was a priceless and very rare moment seeing the tiny bird,  hovering over the cool swirling waters with huge Humpback Whales nearby!

Our afternoon tour was extremely diverse and wonderful, the flooding current added greatly to the mix as at one point we had wonderful viewing of orcas on one side of the boat and humpback whales on the other. Slash and her calf were both very active with the calf breaching and Slash half breaching multiple times. It was an amazing experience with so much feeding activity in the current, seeing a rhinoceros auklet surface with herring in its beak did not go unnoticed as well as the dall’s porpoises darting back and forth!

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Humpback Whales and the A5 Orcas ~ what a fabulous ending to a beautiful day!

 

 

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Our sightings:
Orcas (A5s), Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Seals, Stellar Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

We began our tour with fog in our surroundings, fog that is also referred to as ‘Seasmoke’ by some people at times!

Because of a full moon a few days ago, with a low tide, we explored through narrow island passages observing the wonderful under water world of sea urchins and sea anemones. At the Stephenson Islands we had a good look at some harbour seals hauled out on various rocky outcrops of the islands and although the fog persisted, we encountered some Dall’s porpoises feeding in the ebbing current.

Out in the ‘smoke’ we could hear and then see a humpback whale feeding in the current, taking seven minute dives, it would tail fluke each time. As the fog began lifting, we could hear another whale and suddenly, there were three humpback whales in the area, all were feeding in the fast flowing current.

Our second tour of the day began later, in the  beautiful sunny late afternoon, cruising through the Pearse Islands where we observed some Bald Eagles in the trees along with their huge nests. We then headed towards Stubbs Island where we encountered seven humpback whales feeding in the current where we watched mesmerized, some amazing tail flukes by the whales! We had a wonderful visit with Slash and her new calf as they chose to feed closer to us as we sat idle and drifting in the current while they put on an amazing show.  There were also several Dall’s porpoises rooster-tailing all over the place.

Over the radio we heard the call that members of the A5 pod were westing quickly towards the Robson Bight Reserve after having travelled from a distance well further east in Johnstone Strait. Our timing was perfect as we caught up to them at Naka Creek and travelled with them towards the Robson Bight (Michael Biggs) Ecological Reserve. Before they entered into the eastern boundary of the Reserve (of which we cannot enter into), they treated us to some spectacular breaching! Our main viewing was of A61 and A85. The A23s were behind them along the shoreline but further away.

The afternoon was warm with a bit of a breeze blowing. It was incredible viewing and with our passengers made happy and full of smiles, we headed for home.

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Orcas and Humpback Whales with superb viewing!

 

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Our sightings:
Orcas (A24’s), Humpback Whales, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers and Gull species.

What a day we shared, seeing orcas and humpback whales on both of our tours with superb viewing on each tour!

On our morning tour we encountered the A24’s near the Sophia Islands in Johnstone Strait where our viewing was wonderful and free from fog. It was at Cracroft Point that we came in sight of a humpback whale feeding in the current while the orcas were also feeding nearby!

As the fog lifted we viewed a Bald Eagles nest with an Eaglet sitting in its nest and travelled back via some narrow passages where we explored the intertidal zone of which the four young children on board so enjoyed seeing, including a mother harbour seal and her pup.

On the afternoon tour we encountered the A24’s once again at the top end of Johnstone Strait. It was really awesome for everyone to see the little calf doing head stands and mini breaches! We had beautiful sunny patches and the orcas were back lit by the sun for much of our viewing.

We visited the same eagles nest and eaglet and as we were watching the eagles, we heard a big blow behind us, sure enough a humpback whale was feeding in Weynton Passage. At the time there was a huge flooding current roaring with a lot of whirlpools and upwellings in which the humpback whale was feeding in. It was quite an experience for our guests onboard the M.V Seasmoke, seeing the whirlpools as we glided and spun around!

We headed deeper into Blackfish Sound and came upon three more humpback whales including Slash and her new calf (see photo insert). Watching the mother and calf side by side was truly wonderful.

We headed home via the Pearse Islands where a harbour seal ripping apart a salmon caught our attention. No matter where one looked, there was always something of interest to see!

It was a very a full, amazing day with so many wonderful sights on both tours.

Photo’s above credits: Kate Hackett and AJ – Andrew Jennings
Please note, these photos were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped

The two photo’s posted below are courtesy of Seasmoke Whale Watching ~
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Small orca with the dorsal fin showing with the splash is A110,  b 2015  and is the calf of A64 (A24’s). Continue reading