A magical day in the midst of humpback whales and orcas ~ the I15’s with their beautiful G-Clan calls!

IMG_3601 IMG_3548 IMG_3547 IMG_3618 IMG_3639 IMG_3521 IMG_3539 IMG_3502 IMG_3510 IMG_3473 IMG_3486 IMG_3460 IMG_3468 IMG_3450 IMG_3453 IMG_3447 IMG_3449 IMG_3424 IMG_3420 IMG_3423What a day we had indeed! When we departed on our tour this morning there were no reports of any orcas and we headed out into Blackfish Sound via the Plumper Islands viewing an abundance of marine life along the way. A humpback whale fluked in Weynton Passage as we passed by the Stephenson Islands, all eyes drinking in the scenic beauty of the small chain of islets interspersed, where harbour seals were hauled out with others swimming in the water and where bald eagles, juvenile and mature, sat watching us from their high vantage points. The weather was gloomy, some light drizzle fell and then suddenly, sunlight began to brighten our way and the blows and arching backs of humpback whales could be seen in all directions, far off in the distance and nearby; it was incredible seeing so many of them in our surroundings! Passing a number of resting stellar sea lions and still seeing humpback whales, we made our way into Johnstone Strait where two humpback whales were observed in Blackney Passage, surfacing and diving simultaneously, it was beautiful watching them keeping company together.

We had been making our way in Blackfish Sound when orcas were reported travelling back from the east at Forward Bay and so it was that we encountered the I15’s in the vicinity of the “Cliff” and the “Pig Ranch”, following along the Cracroft Island shoreline, spread out and travelling in their matriline groups, and vocalizing +++. Their G-Clan vocalizations were absolutely wonderful to listen to as we sailed along, trailing our hydrophone behind us. When we turned back and began heading to the west in Johnstone Strait, we could see heavy rain showers behind us and beautiful sunshine ahead. It was a magical day and an adventure that we had all shared in! Also seen: a mink running along the beach, dall’s porpoises, a fork-tailed storm-petrel, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: “A wonderful trip – nice to go at a relaxed pace. Great food – boys enjoyed the scones.”         The Hirons Family, England

“What a wonderful day and experience. The most I was touched from was the talking of the orcas and respect for our nature. ” Gerlie & Manfrad ~ Hamburg, Germany

“We had a wonderful day on the water. Orcas, humpbacks and a lot more. The food was great”! An & Henk, Holland

‘Thank you. It was truly magical.” Deborah, San Diego

“Great Cruise, great whale watching, great food and wonderful people. Highly recommended.” Bill & Kathy, Oregon

“Fantastic voyage! The orcas were magical and to be able to listen as well!!…..and a nice nap on the bow! Thank you so much!” Rob, San Diego

River otter – swimming off the deck of the suite ‘On the Beach’ -accommodation

River Otter swimming out in front of the suite 'On the Beach'.

River Otter swimming out in front of the suite ‘On the Beach’.

A great sighting of a river otter swimming in the water just off the deck of our accommodation suite ‘On the Beach’ in Alert Bay this afternoon. River otters and mink are frequent visitors along the waterfront and off the small floating dock in front of ‘On the Beach’.

Sealions, Porpoises & Birds

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Stellar sea lions hauled out.

A magnificent rainbow arched across the sky as we were leaving Alert Bay and while there were rain showers on and off throughout the tour there was much to see along the way. Our sightings included: stellar sea lions hauled out and swimming, dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, surf scoters, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, one mink scurrying along a rocky shoreline, one black-tailed deer grazing and 2 canada geese in flight. A large gathering of some 35+ bald eagles were sighted swooping low over a bait ball in front of Alert Bay later on in the afternoon. It is a good sign that food by way of herring and other small fish species are making there way into the area for seabirds and marine mammals to feed on.