Airbourne Orca!

A member of the T065 matriline breaches while chasing a Dall’s Poropise.

Today’s Sightings: Transient (Biggs) Killer Whales (T065’s), Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Ripple, Ridge, and Conger), Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots, and Gulls.

Transient (Bigg’s) Killer Whales swim along the coast.

Conger the Humpback Whale slaps at the surface with both pectoral fins.

Conger the Humpback Whales gives us a good look at his/her fluke.

A mature Ball Eagle perched up in a tree.

A member of the T065 matriline gives us another good look at her dorsal fin and saddle patch.

A group of Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out amongst some Bull Kelp.

Today was a day for acrobatic and surface active whales. To start the day we saw Conger the Humpback Whale not only take several breaches out of the water, but also spend a fair amount of time slapping the surface with his/her massive pectoral fins. Argonaut and Ripple the Humpback Whales were also spotted in the area.

In the afternoon, we got word of a group of

Steller Sea Lion’s hauled out near Fife Sound.

Transient (Bigg’s) Killer Whales (T065’s). We were in awe as one of these individuals chased a Dall’s Porpoise, breaching right out of the water several times!  The porpoise got away this time, as we could see by the rooster tails of this smaller animal disappearing in the distance.

Other highlights from the day included seeing dozens of Steller Sea Lions at a common haul-out near Fife Sound and at least 10 both immature and mature Bald Eagles fishing for herring at a bait ball.

Overall in was a truly amazing day in Johnstone Straight, with many spectacular sights and biodiversity. Want to see this for yourself? Book a trip online or in store today!

Photo credit: Ashley Nielsen, Alison Ogilvie, Johanna Ferrie and Jennie Leaver. All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Whales, Current, Culture, and History!

Friday June 23, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Ripple the Humpback Whale shows her fluke before taking a deep dive.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Ripple, and unknown), Dall’s Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Gulls.

A Bald Eagle peers down from its nest.

A raft of Rhinoceros Auklets.

Two Steller Sea Lion swim against the current.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale dives near Stubbs Island.

The coastal mountains on the mainland rise behind Stubbs Island.

Alert Bay

Seine net decorate the inside of the Athletic and Community Hall in Alert Bay.

While the current ripped around us, we were able to get a great look at Ripple the Humpback Whale’s fluke as she dove down to feed in the rich waters. While we were busy admiring Ripple, there was a surprise Minke Whale sighting in the opposite direction, not a whale seen very often in that area. The curved brown dorsal fin was seen twice before the whale disappeared.

Not too long after leaving the Cove, while passing by Stubbs Island, Argonaut was seen through the tide rips. At the same time, on the other side of the boat, four Steller Sea Lions swam towards the rocky shore of Hanson Island. Dall’s Porpoise were also seen throughout the day, with many good looks at the black and white fins.

The day ended with a scenic tour through Blackfish Sound and many of the smaller islands. The beautiful coasts and beaches offered up some great sights of Bald Eagles, their nests, as well as the amazing Bull Kelp forests. A third unidentified whale was also spotted as we made our way back to the Cove.

Today we got to switch things up a little bit on Kuluta – we took folks on a Museum Tour to Sointula and Alert Bay. Both museums were a delightful look at the history and culture of each area. The Sointula Museum displayed artifacts and memorabilia from its settling back in 1901 up to present day. Alert Bay offered a beautiful walk along the shore to the museum, which had many cultural artifacts from the local First Nations.

It was a wonderful way to end the week, between the currents, calm waters, sunshine, and the amazing biodiversity we have in this area. Want to come see this for yourself? Book your trip online or in store today!

Photo credit: Ashley Nielsen, Johanna Ferrie and Jennie Leaver. All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Superduper, Sunny, Spectacular!

Thursday June 22, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa

Sun glistening off a Dall’s Porpoise.

Steller Sea Lions almost glow in the sun.

Another glorious view from Lukwa.

The fin of a Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

Gulls perched gracefully on a log.

Mature Bald Eagles perched up high.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale.

Pacific Harbour Seals sunning themselves.

See the horns on these Rhinoceros Auklets?

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Pupping Season has Begun!

Wednesday June 21, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa

A Pacific Harbour Seal Mom and pup pair.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ojos Blancos, Argonaut and Ripple), Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfisher and Rhinocerous Auklets.

A Blad Eagle.

A Dall’s Porpoise swims across the fluke of Humpback Whale, Ojos Blancos.

Pacific Harbour Seals – they come in all different colours and sizes.

Guests take in an interpretive talk from Johanna our Naturalist.

Guests try and capture the perfect Dall’s Porpoise shot.

A Humpback Whale fluke.

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out and warming themselves in the sun.

What a fantastic day off North East Vancouver Island, the sun was shining and it was wonderfully warm out.

June and July are prime pupping months for Pacific Harbour Seals. Today we were lucky to spot two different Mom and Pup pairs. Always such a special sighting when we get to see new offsprings with their Mom’s. In fact, it seemed as though Pacific Harbour Seals were everywhere we looked today. Little noses poking out of the water and hauled out on multiple shorelines warming themselves in the sun.

Humpback Whales are returning to the area more and more each day. Today we did not travel far before we spotted two Humpback Whales. Both whales are quite well known to us and you might recognize the names as well: Ojos Blancos and Argonaut. Then a little later on into the trip, a third Humpback Whale sighted frequently in our area – Ripple.

Beautiful looks at Dall’s Porpoise as they chose to ride the bow of the boat. It was easy to see their incredible speed and distinguishable black and white bodies. So different from Harbour Porpoises who we can also see in this area. An exhilarating moment as we watched a group of Dall’s Porpoise swim right over Ojos Blacnos, the Humpback Whale.

It truly felt like the beginning of summer today. What more could we ask for since it is Summer Solstice and the 1st day of summer. Just perfection!

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

Photo credits: Johanna Ferrie and Jennie Leaver. All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Trap Feeding in the Sunshine!

Trap feeding! Ripple the Humpback Whale with her mouth wide open.

Mature Bald Eagle perched atop a tree.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale seen again in Weynton Pass.

Snow capped mountains and wonderful sunshine.

Conger the Humpback Whale preparing for a dive.

Pacific Harbour Seals warming in the sunshine.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Ripple, Conger & Ojos Blancos), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lion, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets.

The sun shone for the first time in a while on this afternoon’s trip and it felt a lot more like summer. We spotted a Humpback Whale, and were thrilled when we recognized it as Argonaut, the most frequently sighted Humpback Whale on our tours. This animal is quite commonly seen right where we spotted it today, in Weynton Pass. Welcome back Argonaut!

Bald Eagles were feeding in a bait ball again this afternoon, but Conger the Humpback Whale was also being mobbed by a group of Pacific White-Sided Dolphins! What were we to do? Conger breached and the choice was made as we went over to get a better look at the Humpback Whale and the dolphins that were jumping all over Conger’s head and body. The eagles continued to feed in the distance.

Two more Humpback Whales blew in the distance, followed by great excitement as we realized one of them was trap feeding! Ripple the Humpback Whale lay still at the surface with her mouth wide open. This is the first time we have seen trap feeding this year. It is a new feeding technique being documented by our friends at the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS). You can read more about this amazing and unique feeding behaviour on their blog found here: https://mersociety.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/trap-feeding-a-new-humpback-feeding-behaviour/

It was another incredible day on the water.

Photo credits: Ashley Nielsen, Alison Ogilvie and Jennie Leaver. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

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Wonderfull West Coast!

A young Black Bear clambers through the forest.

Even the Bald Eagles were drying out from the rain early this afternoon.

Even the gulls got in on the feeding frenzy this afternoon.

Bald Eagle takes off after scooping up some herring.

West Coast moments. Note the schooling fish boiling at the surface.

Ripple the Humpback Whale flukes against the rainforest.

The sun came out for the end of our tour this afternoon.

A young Black Bear feeding at low tide.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ripple, & Conger), Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Black-tailed Deer, Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers and Common Murres.

Everyone was soaking wet by the time we left Telegraph Cove this afternoon. Even the Bald Eagles were drying out as the rain cleared through the islands. Pacific Harbour Seal mothers and their pups rested on the rocks and were even seen bobbing in the Bull Kelp forest. On the beaches two Black Bears were seen feeding at low tide.

A bait formed up ahead and groups of Rhinoceros Auklets and Bald Eagles made their way towards the schooling fish. We watched as three Harbour Porpoises joined in the feeding frenzy, occasionally rushing the bait ball. We could see the diving birds driving the schooling fish upwards as they boiled to the surface. Eagles swooped down grabbing talons full of the herring and ate them on the wing. Ripple the Humpback Whale could be seen surfacing in the distance as the mist cleared. It was a very West Coast afternoon.

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

Photo credits: Ashley Nielsen and Alison Ogilvie. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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The Power of Giants!

Sunday June 18, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kultua

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale tail lobs. The beautiful Costal Mountains draped in the background.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ojos Blancos,Cutter, Ripple, Squiggle, Conger & Inukshuk),Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets.

A Black-tailed Deer forages on kelp.

Can you count the Eagles? There were so many.

Pacific Harbour Seals. They can only get onto the rocks as the tide drops. Impressive how high up some of these individuals are.

A Steller Sea Lion haul out.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale tail lobs, leaving bubbles on the surface.

Squiggle the Humpback Whale surfaces wrapped in Bull Kelp.

Windy and wonderful, there is no disputing that and it was inspiring to see so many guests braving the wind and the spray of the Pacific Ocean.

Humpback Whales, were the highlight of today’s trips. We saw 6 different Humpback Whales, fluking and surfacing. Then, suddenly a splash: guests on board both Kuluta and Lukwa were able to witness the power of a tail-lobbing Humpback Whale. It was  later confirmed when we looked at our pictures, that this was Inukshuk. Easily identified by his/her mainly white tail and pointy dorsal fin.

All that being said let’s not forget without the “little guys” who can all be equally remarkable. Guests on board Kuluta were lucky to be able to take in the sight of the largest Sea Lions in the world: Steller Sea Lions. They were hauled out, vocal and there was a lot of them. This is always a sight to behold.

There were multiple sightings of Dall’s Porpoise and Bald Eagle’s appeared to be everywhere. In one location there was so many Eagles it was difficult to count. See our online report for pictures of this event.

There is a never ending excitement when we adventure into the wild, because not matter how many trips we go one, every day holds something new.

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

Photo credits: Ashley Nielsen, Alison Ogilvie and Jennie Leaver. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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A True Taste of the Wild

Acrobatic Pacific White-sided Dolphins

Saturday June 17, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ojos Blacnos,Conger, Ripple, Stingray, Squiggle), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black Bear, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets.

The diverse colours and sizes of Pacific Harbour Seals

“The number one thing to do in Telegraph Cove” – Trip Advisor
“One of the best places in the world to see whales & other marine mammals.” -10,000 Places to See Before You Die

“One of the most bio-diverse costal regions in British Columbia” – Captain Wayne

Today’s guests were privileged to see how quotes like these came to be. A jaw dropping sighting kicked off our tours. We

A Black-tailed Deer was seen eating cedar from the tree close by.

A Humpback Whale surfaces for a breath.

watched a large group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins who appeared to be fishing. They were acrobatic, often with multiple individuals leaping high in the air at the same time. A rare occurrence watching the dolphins when they chose to ride on the bow of the boat and were then joined by a small group of Dall’s Porpoise. This rarely happens.

There was also a great deal of wildlife to be observed out of the water today. A sharp eye from a guest on board who spotted a young Black Bear foraging along a beach. Then, just when we thought things were over, a Black-tailed Deer was spotted eating Cedar along the cliffs of the Plumper Islands.

A great look today at the diverse colours and sizes of Pacific Harbour Seals as we

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin choses to ride in the wake of the boat.

A young Black Bear forages along the shoreline for food. We could see this little guy/girl eating.

coasted past a local haul-out. It was easy to distinguish just how different these wonderful marine mammals can be.

Last but certainly not least, guests were lucky to see five individual Humpback Whales. The whales were fluking and appeared to be feeding at depth. Their high flukes, made the huge size of these giant whales evident to all on board.

A great glimpse into why this area is so well known and considered one of the best locations in the world for whale watching.

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

Photo credit: Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Taken by: Ashley Nielsen, Alison Ogilvie and Jennie Leaver. All images were

A pair of Bald Eagles.

Ripple the Humpback Whale flukes.

taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Lunge Feeding, Breaching….we saw it all on today’s trips.

Conger the Humpback Whale lunge feeding on juvenile Herring.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Conger, Ripple and Stingray), Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoise, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Harlequin Ducks, Black Oyster Catcher, Belted Kingfishers, Pacific Loons and Rhinoceros Auklets.

Bald Eagle surveying the area.

The top of a Bull Kelp forest.

Stingray flukes against the island backdrop.

The White Cliff Islands. An area we frequent on our tours. Gorgeous!

Stingray the Humpback Whale surfacing close to shore.

A Pacific Harbour Sea surfaces in the Bull Kelp.

The foot-print of Ripple the Humpback Whale after she did a deep dive.

The flood tide running through one of the smaller passes.

Lounging in the sunshine is a Steller Sea Lion.

The sun shone and seas were calm today, a huge contrast to yesterday’s wind storm. Stingray the Humpback Whale surfaced in incredible lighting, showing his/her tail against an island backdrop as the animal slowly moved through some of the smaller passages in the area.

Bald Eagles circled over a group of schooling fish, likely herring, and took turns catching them in their talons as they graced the surface of the water. This feeding opportunity did not go un-noticed by Conger the Humpback Whale. From a distance we watched as Conger swam at speed directly towards the feeding frenzy. Guests were all watching as Conger exploded out of the water in a lunge feed, engulfing much of the herring. Conger also jumped clear out of the water!

In the evening, the lighting was incredible. A Steller Sea Lion lounged on the rocks and Conger was seen lunge feeding again. With the engines off we could hear Ripple and Conger the Humpback Whales surface around the Lukwa. We drifted through the islands, watching Bald Eagles and Pacific Harbour Seals as we went. It was a lovely end to a great day on the water.

All photo credit to Stubbs Island Whale Watching, taken by Ashley Nielsen and Alison Ogilvie with telephoto lens and cropped.

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Orcas right in Front of the Cove

Wednesday June 14, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa

Look at the speed these Orcas are travelling!

Humpback Whales Ripple and Conger circle in the currents.

T109A – the matriarch of this family (matriline) of Mammal-hunting Orcas –
travels quickly with one of her offspring surfacing behind her.

Conger the Humpback Whale surfaces near a raft of Rhinoceros Auklets.

The flukes of Conger the Humpback.

All four members of the T109A family of Mammal-eating Killer Whales surface simultaneously.

Today’s Sightings: Bigg’s Orcas (mammal-hunting) (T109As), Humpback Whales (Conger, Ripple, Guardian), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seal, Bald Eagles, and Rhinoceros Auklets.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to wee wildlife right at our front door! We had barely left the cove and happened upon a family of Mammal-eating (Bigg’s) Killer Whales. Jared Towers of MERS (Marine Education and Research Society) arrived as well and identified them as the T109A matriline. It looked like they may have even been hunting, as A Pacific Harbour Seal could occasionally be seen as well.

The luck continued as we worked our way out into Blackfish Sound. Eagles flew by and blows graced the surface in the distance. A good but respectful look at the Humpback Whales making these blows allowed us to identify Conger, Ripple, and Guardian. These whales spend most of the summer months feeding in this area and it is always a treat to watch them.

Want to come see things like this for yourself? Book your trip today in store or online!

All photo credit to Stubbs Island Whale Watching, taken by Ashley Nielsen and Jackie Hildering with telephoto lens and cropped.

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