WOW ~ wonderfully outstanding whales ~ humpbacks!

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We headed out this morning and took our time meandering through scenic waterways of the Pearse Islands viewing belted kingfishers and bald eagles along the way. We also explored the amazing array of intertidal marine-life, all of it was fascinating to view and the colours were mixed and beautiful to observe at such close range!

In Weynton Passage we scanned for blows in the area and our patience was rewarded when we sighted a Humpback Whale in the middle of the Pass! The whale was moving back and forth in the strong flooding current.

In a large Bald Eagles nest nearby we could all clearly see an Eaglet with its two parents sitting close by. It was amazing to watch one of the adults returning to the nest with a fish that we had observed it catching only moments earlier!

In Blackfish Sound we looked for more blows and could see two more humpback whales down near Blackney Passage. The wind and the current swirled the water around fiercely while the humpback whales foraged in the midst of the current.

Just prior to leaving the area we noticed a few tail lobs from one of the humpback whales. Counting a total of eight tail lobs we observed that both of the whales were tail lobbing. It was an  incredible viewing, made even more phenomenal because of the wind conditions and surging current!

We headed back home towards sunshine and a brilliant blue sky. WOW describes it all!

Today’s Sightings:
Humpback whales, Belted Kingfishers, Bald Eagles, their nests and an Eaglet in a nest, Harbour Seals,
Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-Necked Phalaropes, Black Oystercatchers, Wandering Tattler, Gulls,
Intertidal marine-life including Sea Urchins.

What a wonderful part of the world we live in!

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What a beautiful part of the world we live in on the edge of the rainforest!

It was four seasons in one day out on the water today. Sunshine, warm temperatures then rain and a nip in the air made for an exciting adventure on board our M.V. ‘Seasmoke’ but the unpredictable weather did not deter the wildlife. We hadn’t even left Alder Bay and a family of River otters came out for all our passengers to see. We were grateful for their trust as they lingered on the dock even when we stood only meters away.

Once underway we appreciated the calm seas and the slack current enabling us to shut down our engines and drift silently by seals snoozing at low tide and our resident Bald Eagles resting alongside their nests.

Dall’s porpoise surfaced in the distance, Rhinoceros Auklets floated by in small rafts and Pigeon Guillemots flew by in flock formation, all the while we slowly ventured closer to where whale blows had been sighted.

Two travelling Humpbacks kept us company for over an hour this morning. Their blows could be heard from a good distance as the air was still and silent. As the whales dove deep, we were able to see the underside of the fluke which gave away the individuals we were observing. Our forever faithful Guardian was one, along with Ojo Blanco (White Eye).

By the time we parted the area and headed home, the flood current was fast and furious, stirring up the sea like a running river. The rain fell heavy at times but we were all wrapped up warm and dry in our float suits.

Another fabulous day sharing in the company of friendly folks and the gentle giants who delight us with their company throughout our glorious summer.

More time for comments to be sent in regarding the two Tidal Turbine applications ~ please view our previous blog for information ~

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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: diana.watson@gov.bc.ca

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)

Saying NO to Tidal Turbines in Critical Whale Habitat ~The deadline for comment is April 9, 2015

Many of you may or may not be aware that two proposals by Weyl Power Ltd, and both using underwater turbines to generate power, have been put forward by application to the BC Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO). If these applications are successful, it will allow for the instalment of technical and investigative monitoring equipment into killer whale habitat which could then lead to turbines also being located in the acknowledged northern resident killer whale habitat.

The two applications:

(1) Johnstone Strait between Hanson Island and Telegraph Cove (File: #1414321)

http://www.arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=48578

(2) Broughton Strait, western end of Malcolm Island (File: #1414325) http://www.arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=48579

There are just two days left for people with concerns to make a comment expressing that these applications for tenure must not be granted. April 9, 2015 is the last day for acceptance of comments by MFLNRO.

Jackie Hildering of the Marine Detective website: http://www.marinedetective.com has considerable information on her blog that she has presented for anyone wanting information and or help in writing a comment against these two proposals.

Here is another link with information by David Kirby on the proposed turbines: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/03/21/clean-energy-project-could-harm-endangered-killer-whales

We at Seasmoke Whale Watching have spent some 29 years+ in these local waters and especially in the vicinity of Weynton Passage and Johnstone Strait where so many marine species live and navigate through year round; we cannot consider for a moment the possibility of these tidal turbines being constructed. The tidal current surging through Weynton Passage and adjacent to Hanson Island and a portion on Vancouver Island just east of Telegraph Cove on a flood and ebb current is immense, and while observing, one cannot help but be overwhelmed by the abundance of species feeding in the surging current. It is sheer madness to even begin thinking of a Tidal Turbine being constructed in our backyard that is home to a myriad of species, we cannot ever let this happen!

Our time on the water yesterday was breathtaking with calm waters, sunshine and nobody else but harbour seals, stellar sealions and numerous seabirds to observe our passing and not forgetting, the T101s and the T124A’s, the biggs transient orcas who would have passed earlier in the morning and directly in front of where the turbine just east of Telegraph Cove if allowed, would be constructed. Orcas are on the move throughout this area year-round!

The overwhelming beauty that we looked out on yesterday, through Weynton Passage and down Johnstone Strait has compelled me to write this blog. We do not need a tidal turbine hydro energy grab in these waters! Alternate clean energy is good, but not in these pristine waters where nature provides for the livelihood of so many species year-round.  We humans first need to wake up and consider the colossal amount of hydro energy that is wasted every single minute around the globe and especially in cities, big and small, where the lights are never dimmed. How wasteful is this and how stupid are we humans in allowing this to happen! And now, that a company has the idea to generate energy by tidal turbines and that it be constructed in a wilderness area that is absolutely critical to marine habitat, to make up for the shortfall and wastefulness of humans, is absurd! We humans have got it badly wrong and change is badly needed in the way in which we treat our precious planet earth.

Please check and carefully read the information posted by Jackie and if you do not have time to read through it all, simply write from your heart with your passion and tell it the way it is from your perspective no matter from where you live in the world. Your perspective as a previous passenger on board the S.V. Tuan or from another vessel, perhaps a kayak, by writing your comment and saying NO now, it will help to keep intact the integrity of a pristine habitat and wilderness area for a myriad of species including whales, dolphins and humans in the years to come.

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Resident Orcas: A30’s, A42’s, I15’s + four Humpback Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises ~ a beautiful day!

Today was another magnificent day with numerous cetacean sightings throughout the day, beginning and ending with humpback whales. It all began as we were nearing Weynton Passage this morning when the blows of two humpback whales caught our attention and nearby, smaller blows and fins belonging to orcas could also be seen when a number of them were making their way through Weynton Passage. The A30’s and A42’s appeared to be taking their time having entered Johnstone Strait while the I15’s went ahead and crossed over to the Vancouver Island side of the Strait travelling east. We slowed to watch a humpback whale and while doing so noticed a small group of pacific white-sided dolphins swimming amongst the orcas, they also rode at the bow of our boat briefly before they turned back to feed. The A30’s travelled east, close along the Hanson Island shoreline, the sisters A50 and A54 and their off-spring and A38 (their brother) were all grouped together and it was good seeing A72 with her small calf following close beside its mother. The A42’s came in behind meeting up with the A30’s briefly and then began crossing the Strait in the direction of the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. Near Turn Point we turned back and up towards Weynton Passage where we enjoyed viewing three humpback whales working the area, a forth whale that we had seen earlier in the tour had moved out into Blackfish Sound. The sunshine and glorious scenery, seabirds and cetaceans, all of it together made special memories for those onboard with us today. Also seen today: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, fork-tailed storm petrels, rhinoceros and cassins auklets, common murres, red-necked phalaropes, belted kingfishers, bald eagles and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: “Great tour! Watching whales was one of the things I absolutely have to do in life and today we saw may of them! Beautiful landscapes, beautiful sea, great food! Thanks for everything!”            ~ Giacomo & Caterina, Bazzano, Italy

“What an event! I really got emotional when I saw the orcas. Beautiful. Also the great whales and the dolphins. We’ve enjoyed your hospitality and the attention for the gluten-free food. Thank you very much.”                         ~Jaup & Marga, Netherlands

‘Thanks for the great tour and delicious scones!” Gehrmann Family, Germany

“Wunderbar! Awesome.” ~ Irina & Lutz, Germany

“Thank you Maureen and Mike for the VERY special outing. The whale viewing exceeded our expectations. Everything was perfect from the muffins, the scenery, the wildlife and the expertise and knowledge of you both. Thank you!” ~ Rudolfo & Judy ~ Galapagos Island / Ecuador

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Orcas this morning and two Minke plus Humpback Whales this afternoon with brilliant sightings!

“It was another amazing day of sunshine, hot temperatures and calm waters on the North Island! Today we have had an incredible day with two tours, each of them so different from one another. This morning had us heading out into the Queen Charlotte Strait where orcas were reported heading north towards the Penfold Islets and then towards the Foster Islands and beyond, they were moving steadily West, the A36 brothers were in the mix with the I15’s well ahead of them all.  On the afternoon tour we enjoyed some fantastic viewing of a minke whale (Bolt) soon after departing from Alert Bay and afterwards we carried on out into Blackfish Sound where we encountered two humpback whales with three more seen at a distance, one of whom was Ripple with her new calf. A second minke whale was also seen on the way home. It was an incredible afternoon that we all enjoyed with some wonderful sightings of marine life punctuated with scenic cruising through beautiful island waterways. Also seen today: dall’s porpoises, harbour seals, common murres, rhinoceros auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels, a great blue heron, bald eagles ++ as well, two eaglets almost ready to vacate their nest, gull species and belted kingfishers.

Today’s penned comments: “It was an amazing day with you two! Thank you so much for seeing whales and all the other animals. The catering was FANTASTIC. TC and best wishes” ~Rico and Kathi, Germany

“Wonderful trip – so informative and a successful viewing of whales. Brilliant scones and muffins. Thank you” ~Cathy from Whitstable, a fishing village in Kent, England.

“Salt air, sunshine, sea breeze, magical creatures, spectacular scenery. Knowledgeable friendly guides, delicious food. Happy people. Unbelievable. Very grateful! Paradise!! A MILLION THANKS!” ~ Leslie Sayer, Burnaby, BC

“Thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon! We saw minke and humpbacks as well as many seabirds, eagles and seals. Matt was a wealth of information on all of the above – very personable and helpful. Muffins, scones and tea were delicious! “~ Claire & Cindy Susut  IMG_0335 IMG_0339IMG_0331 IMG_0338 IMG_0358 IMG_0348 IMG_0347 IMG_0343 IMG_0342 IMG_0369 IMG_0371 IMG_0389 IMG_0403 IMG_0408 IMG_0334

 

Resident Orcas ~ I15’s in Blackfish Sound and Humpback Whales ~a fabulous day!

Our day began for all of us when at the dock at the Alder Bay Resort, we watched as two juvenile river otters played together; they were seemingly unafraid of our passengers who were waiting to board. Once underway we enjoyed another beautiful day on the water viewing spectacular scenery showcasing the layering effect of ranges upon mountains that make the BC coast such a beautiful one when seen in this manner. On our way through Weynton Passage we sighted the blow of a humpback whale near the Plumper Islands, it was moving slowly making its way towards and then through the Blowhole, as did we following behind at a considerable distance. It was a beautiful entry into the Sound, guided by such magnificence! Resident orcas, the I15’s were once again today very relaxed and resting while waiting for the ebbing current to slacken, this time at Blackney Passage at the entrance to Johnstone Strait. Midway in Blackfish Sound and near to Orcalab another humpback whale was seen resting quietly on the surface of the water, it too was very relaxed and it seemed a perfect day for R & R for all of the Cetaceans in the Sound; with calm and sparkling blue waters, sunshine and not a lot of boat traffic around enabling humpbacks and orcas a good chance to rest in the ebbing current. Making our way back through Blackfish Sound we saw the blow of another humpback whale and small groups of dall’s porpoises who were focussed on feeding and in a bald eagles nest we observed two eaglets sitting high in the nest. Also seen today: river otters, pacific white-sided dolphins, stellar sea lions, hauled out harbour seals, rhinoceros auklets, common murres, black turnstones, black oyster catchers, pigeon guillemots, belted kingfishers, bald eagles and gull species.

Today’s penned comments: “I just said,  I feel like when we stepped onto this boat we entered a magical world – like- never-never land. This could not have been more spectacular the beauty of the surroundings alone has left me awestruck but the majesty of the sea that showed itself today is amazing with beautiful seals, and a humpback whale to lead us on our way to the orcas – the numerous orcas in line together was so special! And the ‘resting humpback’. All of that alone would be enough but the beauty of the boat and the knowledge Maureen shared, not to mention the spectacular treats of tea, muffins etc. Absolutely wonderful. I will be dreaming of coming back to do this again. Thank you! “Nancy & Alicia~VA, USA

“What a beautiful day! Thank you for the knowledge about the whales and the respect for nature! And the delicious muffins and scones – we enjoy a bit of British Tradition once in a while. We have not tried a whale watching trip around Victoria and we probably won’t because who needs that after such a wonderful trip! Thank you.” ~ Manita & Leonnie. Netherlands.

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