Humpback Whales and fantastic viewing of a ‘food drop’ into a Bald Eagle nest for two Eaglets!

We had another fabulous day of watching whales in the pristine and very scenic local waters that we travel in with wonderful viewing of some six or possibly more humpback whales! In the ebbing current this morning in Weynton Passage two humpback whales were seen feeding early on in our tour, they were moving in wide circles out into Blackfish Sound and then travelling back into Weynton Passage, ‘Argonaut’ was identified as being one of the whales. We made our way towards Bold Head where another whale was seen working in the kelp forest along the Swanson Island shoreline while two more were seen further north and as we scanned, at least one more was seen off in the distance. Herring ball activity was also seen with bald eagles fishing overhead on the herring at the water’s surface while rhinoceros auklets, common murres and numerous gulls steadily worked the area. Another of the whales that we identified was ‘Slash’, she was easily identified because she lacks a dorsal fin due to extensive boat propellor damage (scars can also be seen on her body and fluke). We cruised back through the Plumper Islands and while looking at a bald eagle nest in which we could clearly see two eaglets sitting high in the nest, a mature eagle appeared flying towards the nest with a fish in its talons and suddenly dropped the fish into the nest and then landed promptly on the nest, alongside of the eaglets. It was fantastic viewing  to be so close when this happened, to actually see the fish being “dropped” down into the nest to the awaiting eaglets. It was perfect timing for us and a very rare sighting! Two humpback whales were in the near vicinity as well and were, we believe the first two whales that we had seen at the beginning of our tour. Also seen today: stellar sea lions, harbour seals, black turnstones, dalls porpoises, belted kingfishers, salmon jumping++, bald eagles++ and a mink swimming and running up a rocky outcrop.

Today’s penned comments: Had a wonderful time, you’re a wealth of information! Beautiful scenery and of course, the whales were spectacular! ~ Sherri and Brent. Ontario

Great trip, great hosts. Loved all the wildlife we saw, thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to explore beautiful B.C. July 29th, 2014 is also our 25th anniversary. ~ Graig and Rose, Ontario

Spectacular trip through the islands….wildlife and fauna were fabulous! The eagle nest with the two eaglets was a highlight as were the humpback whales, the seals, sealions and mink! The seamanship of Mike and narration of Maureen was much appreciated. ~ The Letts family, Ontario

Great time, wonderfully calming and the knowledge level is very interesting. Maureen’s and Mikes love of the whales and the coast make for an entertaining and enjoyable time on the water. ~ Tom and Angie, BCIMG_8770 IMG_8774 IMG_8778 IMG_8787 IMG_8794 IMG_8799 IMG_8809 IMG_8811 IMG_8814 IMG_8864 IMG_8870 IMG_8871 IMG_8872 IMG_8901 IMG_8903

Humpback whales galore and breathtaking beauty

What a beautiful day we shared on the water and while we did not see any orcas, humpback whales were in abundance. Seeing them throughout the tour, with our first sighting beginning near the Plumper Islands in Weynton Passage, so too was our last sighting and while the fog was seemingly less dense today, fading away leaving wide areas of water open and clear,  the low lying mist would soon envelope us again. Listening for blows, following the sound and then watching the fluke’s cutting through the water before disappearing, the fog enhanced the subtle beauty immeasurably. Sighting our first whale in Weynton Passage and doubling back to observe a second whale,  with dall’s porpoises riding alongside briefly they added greatly to the experience as did the lazy stellar sea-lions swimming nearby. We cruised through the Plumper Islands where the top end of Blackfish Sound revealed at first one humpback whale and as we waited, more blows were seen. Unbelievably, we counted five whales swimming around us in various directions, some were near and others reaching as far as Swanson Island whiltwo more were in Weynton Passage and so was the magic of the whales today. Making our way through the Plumper Islands, it was truly a beautiful experience that revealed not only hauled out harbour seals but also ruddy turnstones, harlequin ducks and on other islands we also saw black oyster catchers, bald eagles, pigeon guillemots, herring, glaucous, mew and california gulls, belted kingfishers, a double-crested cormorant, cassins auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes and rhinoceros auklets. Entering into Weyton Passage on our way home it was with much excitement that we saw yet again the majestic mesmerizing fluke of a humpback whale just as passengers began partaking of their Devonshire Tea. Where else in the world can you enjoy a hot cup of organic Earl Grey Tea and feast on fresh baked scones with jam and cream and watch a humpback whale foraging nearby? The timing was  wonderful and the viewing superb! As we made our way home via the Pearse Islands, the fog began to fade and the bright blue waters revealed, in contrast to the grey, was extraordinary and brilliant.

Resident orcas ~ A23’s & A25’s in Johnstone Strait

It was an amazing day with a stiff NW wind blowing, there were also orcas and sunshine!  We encountered the A23’s and A25’s as they headed west from the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve and observed as they passed by Izumi Rock and continued on, the A43’s were travelling tight along the Vancouver Island shoreline, A60 was well in the lead while A61 & A85 were a

a kelp forest

a kelp forest

distance out from the shore in the rear but as we watched they too made their way over to the Vancouver Island shoreline. With the NW wind blowing we had our main sail hoisted and our time with the orcas was exhilarating and energizing; it was exciting to watch them moving steadily along and amazing for passengers to see them swimming in so close to the shoreline. Leaving the orcas we made our way into the Plumper Islands enjoying quieter waters and beautiful scenery while partaking of our Devonshire Tea’s. Other species also seen: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, stellar sea lions, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, bald eagles, oyster catchers, ruddy turnstones, belted kingfishers, herring, california and glaucous-winged gulls.

Mesmerizing humpback whale watching and so much more….

Humpback whale - fluke

Humpback whale: Jigger – fluke

Humpback whale: Jigger – dorsal fin

It was an amazing day with the viewing of many species, all of whom were converging to feed in the flooding current and while the day was mostly enshrouded in fog, this did not detract at all from our viewing

Cruising among the islands

Cruising among the islands

Cruising the islands today

Cruising the islands today

opportunities; instead it heightened our awareness of our surroundings and the exquisite beauty that was revealed to us glimpse by glorious glimpse. While there were several humpback whale sightings

Bald eagle fishing sequence

Bald eagle fishing sequence

eagle fishing seqence

eagle fishing seqence

reported today, they were well spread out in the area and because of fog in the earlier part of the tour, it was not possible to see them all. A mother and calf were reported being off Lizard Point and another single

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

fishing sequence

whale off Lewis Point at the same time that we were viewing our first humpback whale of the day. Initially we sighted it near Weynton Island and observed it making its way east in Johnstone Strait before turning

Lefty - dorsal fin

Lefty – dorsal fin

Lefty - fluke

Lefty – fluke

back to the west. The dives were timed at 7-8 minutes with 8-9 breaths between and while the fog swirled in and around us, it was the blows that we listened for intently and while observing the pattern of its dive sequence

Gulls and seal pup

Gulls and seal pup

Cruise ship in Johnstone Strait

Cruise ship in Johnstone Strait

everyone could fully appreciate the sheer size and grace of the whale. While cruising among the Plumper Islands enjoying the quiet narrow waterways we observed some precious moments of young fledged

Johnstone Strait early afternoon

Johnstone Strait early afternoon

belted kingfishers in pursuit of their parents, shrill like, their cries carried far and we watched as they landed and settled close together on branches overhanging the water. Approaching Weynton Passage from the north side, another humpback whale was sighted and numerous bald eagles could be seen swooping low over a herring ball. Gulls and rhinoceros auklets joined in, feeding in a frenzy in the flooding current and it was good to see that both mature and juvenile eagles were successful in catching the small fish in their talons and flying off with them, some mature eagles to attend their nests. In a high nest nearby, two eaglet’s were observed with one of the parents arriving back at the nest with herring for them to feast on. Meanwhile the humpback whale surfaced again and we watched in awe as Lefty surfaced and dived with ease, some distance away from the herring ball. The fog was clearing rapidly with Johnstone Strait opening up and across at Beaver Cove two more humpback whales could be seen and another further east off Bauza Islets.  Other species also seen today included: harbour seals and some pups, dall’s porpoises, black oyster catches, harlequin ducks, pigeon guillemots, cassins auklets, herring and glaucous-winged gulls.

Two humpback whales again today!

humpback whale

humpback whale

humpback whale

humpback whale

When we headed out this morning the lighting was wonderful and looking down Johnstone Strait the colour was a beautiful blue. Passing through a narrow waterway in the Plumper Islands we sighted a new bald eagle’s nest very high up in the tree line while bald eagle’s were observed swooping low over the water fishing. We scanned in all directions and down Blackfish Sound but could not see any blows in sight and kept on cruising with our mainsail up. Suddenly a single blow was sighted near the top end of Swanson Island and moving back in that direction another blow was finally seen by everyone on board confirming the sighting of a humpback whale. It was exciting to see, surfacing at 5 minute intervals and taking some 8-9 breathes, the whale we observed was taking shallow dives and only once while we watched did it fluke, yet even then, barely raising its tail high. Looking in another direction as we began making our way back to the west in Blackfish Sound another humpback whale was sighted while back behind us, the other whale could also be seen. Heading for home everyone felt contented knowing that there was not only one but two whales feeding in the area,  both of them moving back and forth in the flooding current. It was another fabulous day partaking of some wonderful sights and sounds!