Fabulous Fundraising Trip!

Saturday, October 13, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Inukshuk (a male Humpback Whale) pursuing Freckles (a female).

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Freckles, Inukshuk, Dandelion, Argonaut, Twister, Ridge, Galaxy, Slapshot, Hunter, Claw, Conger, Clover, Moonstar, Stitch, and more in the distance!), Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Ancient Murrelets, and Bald Eagles.

Today Stubbs was proud to sponsor the 6th Annual Marine Education and Research Society Fundraising Trip. The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) is a fantastic local charity dedicated to promoting conservation and understanding of marine ecosystems through scientific research, environmental education, and marine wildlife response. Many of our guests will have heard about the work that MERS does in maintaining the Humpback Whale catalogue in this area. On our full day trip today we had fabulous wildlife sightings including at least 14 different Humpback Whales. The highlight today was the behaviour of Inukshuk the Humpback Whale. When we first spotted him he was very active, tail lopping and slapping his pectoral fins while surrounded by dolphins. When we lowered the hydrophone we heard the most amazing vocalizations- bringing a tear to the eye of many on board. Later in the day Inukshuk was also spotted pursuing Freckles, a female Humpback Whale. This time of year is when the Humpback Whales are getting ready to migrate south to their breeding grounds and it seems like Inukshuk is getting ready. Thanks to everyone who joined us today in supporting the important work of MERS.

A Steller Sea Lion hauled out high above the water.

A Bald Eagle landing precariously on a tree.

Watch the birds because they often lead you to the whales.

Gulls keeping their feet dry.

A Common Murre surfacing after a dive- see the bubble trail underwater.

Freckles the Humpback surrounded by dolphins.

Christie recording the amazing vocalizations of Inukshuk.

Pec slap.

Argonaut in Weynton Pass!

Beautiful fall lighting.

Head Lob!

Inukshuk hurrying in pursuit of Freckles.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

 

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Whales!

Saturday, October 6, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Captain Wayne checking for whale reports before our last tour of the season.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Freckles, Argonaut, Cutter, Hunter, and many more!), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Killer Whales (A34 and A42 matrilines), Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Western Grebe, Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles.

What a fabulous way to end the 2018 season. The skies were sunny, the seas were calm, and whales were everywhere! Our afternoon adventure started with the A34 and A42 matrilines of Northern Resident Killer Whales foraging just outside of Telegraph Cove. As we were watching these Orcas we were able to spot the distant blows of Humpback Whales. Freckles and Argonaut the Humpback Whales were feeding on small schooling fish and we spotted many more Humpbacks throughout our tour. Thanks to  everyone who joined us this season and we hope to see you again next year!

The first wildlife that the guests on our sundeck spotted this afternoon. Does anyone know what species it is?

A Northern Resident (fish-eating) Killer Whale foraging just outside of Telegraph Cove.

The newest member of the A42 matriline, this calf was just born in August!

Some of the sharp-eyed birdwatchers spotted this Western Grebe.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale in Weynton Pass.

Freckles the Humpback Whale feeding on small schooling fish.

Pacific Harbour Seals or rocks?

Steller Sea Lions competing for space on the rocks.

A Steller Sea Lion feeds while Gulls wait for scraps.

A Rhinoceros Auklet in non-breeding plumage, and without its horn.

Common Murres can’t decide which way to go.

Can you spot the Humpback blow?

Pelagic Cormorants and Gulls perch on small islands with the Coast Mountains in the background.

A mature Bald Eagle watches over Small Boat Pass.

Our favourite place.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Fantastic Friday!

Friday, October 5, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

A Northern Resident Killer Whale swimming past Telegraph Cove.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Inukshuk, Claw, and more!), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Killer Whales (A34 and A42 matrilines), Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Bald Eagles.

This trip started with an adventure  across Johnstone Strait to the Stephenson Islands where a large number of seals were hauled out on the rocks. We got distracted from the seals by distant Humpback Whale blows and spotted at least ten Humpbacks on the trip. Some were feeding while others were travelling and tail fluking. Midway through our trip we had a report of Orcas in Johnstone and were lucky to spot the A34 and A42 matrilines. The highlight for many of our guests was watching the new calf in the A42 matriline (who was born in August) playing in the choppy water! Tomorrow will be our last trip of the 2018 season and we hope to see you there.

How high on the rocks can they get?

Inukshuk the Humpback whale swims on his side with a pectoral flipper and part of his tail fluke in the air.

No more room on the rock.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale flukes before taking a long dive.

Orca in Johnstone Strait.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Wintery Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Two Humpback Whales interacting with Pacific White-sided Dolphins and Steller Sea Lions.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Moonstar, Freckles, and more!), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pacific Loons, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles.

The cool wind and fresh snow on the Coast Mountains made it feel like we have skipped a season. Today’s trip started with a visit to the seal haulout where many seals were perched high above the water. We then spotted humpback blow after blow throughout the trip. There was much excitement as two humpbacks were being chased by dolphins and sea lions. The agitated humpbacks were trumpeting and slapping their pectoral fins. Later we spotted a sea lion devouring a chum salmon with gulls hovering above  waiting for scraps.

Pacific Harbour Seals high above the water.

Moonstar the Humpback Whale flukes before a deep dive.

Look at the size difference!

Pec Slap!

Gulls wait for scraps as a sea lion feeds on a salmon.

How did they get onto that rock?

A sea lion checks out the guests on the Lukwa.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Terrific Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Breach!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Moonstar, Conger, and more!), Fish-eating Killer Whales (A34 and A42 matrilines), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Common Merganser, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Belted Kingfishers, Pacific Loons, Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles.

At the start of today’s trip we didn’t have any wildlife reports but that soon changed as we heard that a group of Orcas was in the area. We were soon able to spot the A34 and A42 matrilines of Fish-eating Killer Whales travelling together. When we first spotted them they were in a large resting group but soon they started behaving more socially and we were lucky to see a breach!  On our way home we stopped to watch at least four Humpback Whales.

Pacific White-sided Dolphins in Johnstone Strait.

The seals were enjoying the sun as much as we were.

A Bald Eagle checks its feathers.

Spyhop!

A Common Merganser floats in front of a sea lion haulout.

Who’s watching who?

Moonstar, one of the Humpback Whales available for adoption through the Marine Education and Research Society, made an appearance today!

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Outstanding October!

Monday, October 1, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

A Humpback Whale lunge feeding on small fish.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Conger, Slash, Ridge, and many more!), Mammal-eating (Bigg’s) Orcas (T046C2), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Belted Kingfishers, Pacific Loons, and Bald Eagles.

What an outstanding start to October. After visiting the seal rock (and spotting a few Bald Eagles) our tour made its way into Blackfish Sound where multiple Humpback Whales were feeding. We received a report of a lone orca, and spotted it a few minutes later, and it was confirmed by local researchers that it was from the mammal-eating population. The trip was capped off with an unexpected breach from Argonaut the Humpback Whale!

Mature Bald Eagle perched on a branch above the seals.

Seals keeping a watchful eye on what’s going on.

A Gull flies overhead.

Local researcher taking an identification photo of T046C2. Research is conducted with a permit.

Time for lunch!

No room is left on the rock!

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Wet and Wild End to September!

Sunday, September 30, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

The wildlife doesn’t mind the rainy weather.

The rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of our adventurous guests today- and their perseverance was rewarded! Seals and sea lions were hauled out in their favourite places with Bald Eagles soaring overhead. Humpback Whales were lunge feeding on small schooling fish and then surprise… one started tail lobbing and another started breaching! After a great view of them we headed down Blackfish Sound and spotted the Killer Whales trying to escape from a large group of dolphins!

Don’t worry, we have lots of raingear!

A Humpback Whale raises his/her tail fluke before taking a longer dive.

Tail-lobbing Humpback Whale.

Pacific Harbour Seals on their favourite rocks.

Steller Sea Lions on a nearby haulout.

Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

Common Murres.

A member of the A34 Matriline of Killer Whales.

Photo credits: Erika van Sittert and Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Whale Wonderland, the “Full Meal” Deal!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

So many cetaceans! Claw the Humpback Whale trap-feeds, her mouth wide open and baleen hanging out, while a Pacific White-sided Dolphin races towards her and Fish-eating Orcas surface nearby.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Slash, Freckles, Conger, Black Pearl, Yahtzee, Bumpy, Claw, Moonstar, and many more!), Fish-eating (Northern Resident) Orcas (A34’s and unknown), Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, Surf Scoters, Pelagic Cormorants, Pacific Loon, and Bald Eagles.

September is coming winding down but the wildlife is winding up! Sunny skies and a warm breeze welcomed us onto the water this afternoon. And what an afternoon – Pacific White-sided Dolphins could be seen in almost all directions in Blackfish Sound splashing on top of Orcas and Humpbacks, and occasionally speeding towards bait balls to feed. Humpbacks were highly active: Argonaut threw his tail out of the water, Claw trap-fed, and Slash, Freckles, and Yahtzee all looked like they may collide while lunge-feeding! Bald Eagles and Surf Scoters soared overhead, Auklets and Murres dove in and out, and a Pigeon Guillemot ran over the surface in an attempt to take off. A great way to end the season for Alex and Johanna, who we’re also sad to say goodbye to today.

4 members of the A34 matriline of Fish-eating Orcas surface serenely.

Bald Eagle silhouetted in a tree.

The water is alive! With the splashes of hundreds of Dolphins booting it down Blackfish Sound.

Dolphins mobbing these Fish-eating Orcas.

Feeding frenzy! Two Humpback Whales almost appear to collide as they lunge-feed on the same ball of small schooling fish.

A sunny spot for a Seal!

Water runner! A Pigeon Guillemot runs across the surface in an attempt to take off.

Two male Steller Sea Lions stay out of the cold water.

Guests listen to Steller Sea Lions poking their noses above the water to breathe, and take in the beauty of this amazing area.

Speedy Surf Scoters!

A very small Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

Photo credits: Johanna Ferrie and Alex McDonald. *Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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Summer in September!

Friday, September 28, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Rainbow blows as the sunlight illuminates the breath of these Northern Resident Orcas from the A34 Matriline

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Quartz, Guardian, and more!), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A34 Matriline), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, Pacific Harbour Seals, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pelagic Cormorants, and Bald Eagles.

Today was a sad day, it was Captain Bob’s last trip of the season! However, it was also an absolutely stunning last day full of some amazing action. We pulled up to the Steller Sea Lion rock to check out some giants and we were surprised to hear the barks of a California Sea Lion mixed in with the growls of the Steller Sea Lion! The another surprise rounded the corner… Northern Resident Orcas! We watched as the A34 Matriline broke out of the fog banks and travelled down Johnstone Strait into the sunshine. The sunny gaps in between fog banks made for stunning scenery and illuminated the blows of both Orcas and Humpback Whales in fantastic rainbow colours. It doesn’t get much prettier than this and Mother Nature sure was kind to Captain Bob on his last day!

Captain Bob with Naturalists Johanna and Alex on his last day of the season! We miss you already!

Johnstone Strait scenery!

Rainbow blows as the sunlight illuminates the breath of these Northern Resident Orcas from the A34 Matriline

A55 and A34 from the A34 Matrline of Northern Resident Orcas

The foggy, fantastic tail fluke of Quartz the Humpback Whale

A large male Steller Sea Lion hauled out

The distinctive fluke of Guardian the Humpback Whale

Steller Sea Lions porpoising along at the surface

Amazing scenery across Kingfisher Pass

Photo credits: Alex McDonald and Johanna Ferrie. *Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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Hungry Hungry Humpbacks!

Thursday, September 27, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Look at those Herring fly as Slash the Humpback Whale lunge-feeds!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Slash, Freckles, Conger, Black Pearl, Bumpy, and many more!), Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets, Surf Scoters, Pelagic Cormorants, Pacific Loon, and Bald Eagles.

Watching all the feeding today almost made us hungry! Today was not a good day to be a Herring, but a great day to be a Bird or a Whale or a Sea Lion! And to be a guest on board the Lukwa watching al this activity. Gulls funnelled down to massive bait balls at the surface, the water appearing to boil from the Herring moving at the surface! Diving Birds sped in and out, keeping the small fish high in the water. Then would come a Humpback Whale and SCOOP, take as much Herring as possible! Slash the Humpback lunge fed repeatedly and an unknown individual trap-fed, which is always exciting to see.

A Steller Sea Lion face-plants into the water, away from the huge jaws of another sea lion.

This Sea Lion porpoises right out of the water!

An unknown Humpback Whale hangs at the surface with its mouth open in a behaviour called Trap Feeding.

This Humpback uses very little energy while trap-feeding, because the small fish swim right into its mouth!

Pacific Harbour Seals blend in so well!

Surf Scoters soar across the sky.

A rainbow forms in the blow of Slash the Humpback Whale as she surfaces to breathe after lunge-feeding.

The non-breeding plumage of Common Murres.

An unknown Humpback Whale surfaces between Bull Kelp forests.

A mature Blad Eagle.

The well-known dorsal of Conger the Humpback Whale.

Photo credits: Alex McDonald and Johanna Ferrie. *Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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