This is a short blog to let those of you who were unable to place a comment to MFLNRO on the afternoon of April 9, 2015. April 9 was the last day to submit but I had trouble in doing so. Having submitted my comment on the first application around 11.30 a.m., I was horrified at being unable to submit for the second application as the comment link had vanished! I spent time searching back and forth and finally found a way to submit via the history pages on my computer that I had opened the day before and morning of the 9th; I managed to submit around 12.30 p.m.. on April 9, 2015
The problem was reported by a wonderfully diligent person to the MFLNRO / Front Counter and Diana Watson at the Ministry has extended the deadline a few days more into next week if there are still comments to be sent in, please email: email@example.com
Diana Watson is one of the Land Officers and is one of three final decision makers on these applications.
Please if you have not done so already, or found yourselves shut out around 12.00 noon on Thursday, April 9, please take an opportunity over the weekend and email Diana Watson your comments. Please include the file number for both applications and mention as well that you were unable to find the comment link on the afternoon of April 9, 2015.
The two applications: Please check our previous blog for any further information on this.
(1) Johnstone Strait between Hanson Island and Telegraph Cove (File: #1414321)
(2) Broughton Strait, western end of Malcolm Island (File: #1414325)
We headed out this morning in heavy fog with the knowledge that several pods of Orcas were quickly moving out through Blackfish Sound on the fast ebbing current, among them reported were the A36 brothers, the A30’s, I15’s and A34’s! It was a day of patience, persistence and a profound knowing that orcas in the wild go where they want to, no matter what the weather conditions are and where to, only they truly know. They can travel vast distances in 24 hours and the flooding and ebbing currents do not always result in their turning back just because the tide is turning; they are constantly on the move as was evident today. It took time and effort by all of the whale watching vessels out there today, all sharing information, all listening for blows and for vocalizations via hydrophones and then finally sighting orcas ahead so that all of us could see orcas spread out in the Queen Charlotte Strait, some as far over as the Foster Islands while others were across the Strait, following more closely along the Malcolm Island shoreline. It was amazing to see them and while the fog persisted, the specific family groups could be seen. The I15’s appeared to have taken the route closest to the Foster Islands with one of the Matriline groups, the I16’s being nearest to Malcolm Island yet still a distance away. We enjoyed a beautiful encounter with I51 and her youngest calf I129 when they stopped to rest, it was exquisite viewing. The A30’s were closest to Malcolm Island and appeared to be the last family heading west, A39 was ahead of his family foraging while A38 was seen alongside one of his sisters and her calves, while his other sister and her calves were just ahead of them. En route to the Orcas we were also fortunate to see a Humpback Whale in passing, we also had a small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins swim alongside and join us briefly at the bow of the boat and Dall’s Porpoises were also seen porpoising amongst the A30’s.
It was an incredible day of viewing cetaceans, from the very beginning this morning observing small groups of dall’s porpoises intently feeding followed by gulls galore and then 12++ pacific white-sided dolphins feeding along a tide line and soon
one of the humpback whales
after, just on the edge of a fog bank near Stubbs Island a humpback whale was sighted! We carried on to the west following along the Malcolm Island shoreline heading towards Lizard Point where
orcas had earlier been reported heading west. Unbelievably as we carried on past Lizard Point and nearing Bere Point two more humpback whales were suddenly sighted travelling east and as we drew abreast one
a beautiful day!
breached twice, surprising and delighting of all of us and two passengers were lucky enough to capture their photo’s. The day was a gorgeous one and as the fog receded, the beauty of the Queen Charlotte Strait revealed
minke whale # 1
minke whale #2
itself and we all enjoyed the calm sea, the Coast Range Mountains and light blue coloured sea and sky. As the orcas came into view ahead of us they looked magnificent! Spread out and moving forward, stopping to forage and then porpoise with speed, relaxed and yet forward moving against the now flooding current the viewing was simply superb, stunning and exquisite. The Northern Resident Orcas present in the wide-spread mix were: A36 brothers (A46 and A37), A23’s, A25’s and the I 31’s. Passengers enjoyed listening to both A & G-Clan calls via our hydrophone and 8km off Malcolm Point we ourselves turned towards the east in the direction of the Pultney Point Light House still watching as the orcas continued on their way steadily west. With a NW wind blowing we hoisted our main sail and enjoyed our Devonshire Tea with the sun warm upon us. Nearing Cormorant Island we enjoyed some quality time viewing a minke whale and then nearing Alder Bay, a second minke whale was also seen. Other species seen : harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, bald eagles and common murres. Photo’s to follow soon.
It constantly amazes us, each day so different from any other, our tours have been remarkable with so much action especially when viewing humpback whales, the images fill our minds and fully awaken our
Humpback Whale: Black Pearl
senses! Leaving the dock this morning a stiff SE wind was blowing with strong gusts at times and we departed from Alder Bay with our staysail up; it was a grey day and the whitecaps were whipped up all across and down Johnstone Strait. We entered calm waters through Pearse Passage and Weynton Passage and as we neared the Plumper Islands, a dorsal fin was suddenly spotted surfacing through the water that we could in the next moment see that it was a minke whale. Passengers on board enjoyed some wonderful viewing of the whale, nearby at times when it resurfaced after a dive, enabling us to clearly see the elongated head when it surfaced and from our photo’s it was later identified by Christie as being ‘Eclipse’, one of the resident minke whales that returns to feed in the area each summer. We carried on our way towards Blackfish Sound and scanning up and down the Sound, there were no sightings of any cetaceans when suddenly a blow followed by the typical disappearing back of a humpback whale was sighted near Bold Head. It was several minutes before a blow was seen again and while we made our way in that direction, the sea state had picked up and some wind gusts were felt. A blow could be seen well off in the distance out towards the Foster Islands in the Queen Charlotte Strait and then finally after several more minutes the fluke of a humpback whale was seen some 250-300 hundred meters off our starboard side, disappearing. Meanwhile a large blow was seen, the whale heading further west but more towards Malcolm Island, a second humpback whale for sure or possibly a third? We turned our attention to the whale off our starboard side and enjoyed viewing its dive sequence which throughout our viewing time, with everyone counting the blows it was taking 12 breathes between dives, one count 13 breathes with dives of mostly 6 minutes, one dive sequence of 5 minutes. As it happened yesterday, to the astonishment of us all, we watched as the whale suddenly began making its way towards our boat, getting closer with each surfacing and suddenly it passed in front crossing our bow with amazing speed, the viewing was superb and the images clearly imprinted in all of our minds. This whale was the same humpback whale as we had go by the bow of the boat yesterday and was identified again thanks to Christie as being ‘Black Pearl’. Throughout our viewing time in Black Sound, with the wind blowing we had our staysail up and the ride was comfortable and exhilarating. Our return home was via the Plumper and Pearse Islands where passengers enjoyed their Devonshire Tea’s. Other species sighted today were dall’s porpoises, harbour seals and increasing numbers of rhinoceros auklets.