Final Goodbyes

Stubbs Team 2016 Photo credit: Wendy Walker

Stubbs Team 2016
Photo credit: Wendy Walker

The last week in the cove has been very quiet, in fact some might even say desolate. The last remaining members of our team have been working tirelessly to complete inventory and pack up our gift shop and office. Not a small task seeing as the company has operated out of the same building since it’s inception in 1980.

A lot of team work and a week and half later we have moved everything into it’s winter storage. We found many interesting treasures along the way, among them a 35mm film camera, old printing materials of brochures from the early days and Killer Whale

Jennie Photo credit: Carol Leaver

Jennie
Photo credit: Carol Leaver

identification catalogues from almost ten years ago. Fascinating to see just how much change there has been in their community. Similar to humans, individuals have passed away and many new ones born as well.

With all of the hard work, and heavy lifting done we would like to stick with the tradition of saying goodbye to our delightful people as they depart the cove for the last time this season. We will take a few paragraphs now to those who saw us through to the very end.

With the last Whale Watching trip dating a few days back, our wonderful friend and colleague Jennie, Social Media Coordinator at Stubbs, leaves the Cove at last. It is hard to imagine what the season would have been without her uplifting optimism and enthusiasm. Enjoy your winter adventures and keep up the good vibes!

Alison Photo credit: Carmen Pendleton

Alison
Photo credit: Carmen Pendleton

We will also say goodbye to our delightful and hard-working Head Naturalist Alison. Always bouncing around the boat and office, her energy bleeds through into everything she does. Whether that is sharing her passion for wildlife with the guests or carrying out bookshelves twice her size as we moved our office the last few days. We always appreciate you hard work and dedication. Thank you Alison!

Yolanda Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Yolanda
Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Whitney. Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Whitney.
Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Kayliegh Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Kayliegh
Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

As the office is closing its doors for the winter, Yolanda is leaving for her winter
refuge as well. Her positive attitude and ever smiling face behind the counter was
contagious. She made every customer feel at home right from the beginning. Thanks
for all the fun times and your never-ending humanity, Yo!

Along with Yolanda, both Whitney and Kayleigh are on their way as well. Whitney, thank you for everything you do! You make sure the company runs smoothly, keeping reservations organized and ensuring our gift shop is stocked with wonderful items for our guests. Thank you for keeping us on track during the storms of summer, checking in up to 200 guests a day.

Kayleigh, your four years of experience were a huge help this summer for our newest staff members. We wish you the best of luck over the winter pursuing your dreams of opening up your own bakery and we are looking forward to many more yummy cakes.

Than last but certainly not least, we bid adieu to Captain Wayne. For everyone who just started to panic, don’t worry, he will return again next year for his 21st season and we couldn’t be happier about it. His charisma and outgoing personality are a joy for both guests and crew alike. Thank you Wayne, we do not have words to describe the contribution you bring.

Captain Wayne Photo credit: Leonie Mahlke

Captain Wayne
Photo credit: Leonie Mahlke

It is always difficult to say our final goodbyes of the season. In the meantime, the wild will continue on without us. A prime example yesterday as Alison watched a matriline of Transient (Bigg’s) Orca swim by the cove once more. There is something inexplicable about this area and as it fades into our rearview mirror you can still smell the salt water lingering in the air. The memories of friends, guests and wildlife stay with you forever and even though we have to leave every fall, when we do return, it always feels like home.

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Until Next Year

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Not that long ago our staff was just beginning to arrive. They trekked the boardwalk, their bags full and eager for the season ahead. The Cove was quiet in those days, much like it is now. Hard to imagine, walking around today, that just six weeks ago this place was packed. The boardwalk was bustling with guests from destinations around the world. You could see them relaxing by their cottages or, in the lounge chairs on the boardwalk with a cold beverage. They were boarding the Lukwa and Kuluta to adventure out into the wild. With tours at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 530pm. This place was busy!

Photo credit: Leonie Mahlke. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Leonie Mahlke. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Now this summer hot spot is closing down for the season. Signs dawn the windows of many establishments thanking everyone for a wonderful 2016. They have already closed their doors and their staff have moved onto their winter destinations, as have many of ours. Carmen, Leonie, Rebecca, Geoff and Johanna, we hope you are all doing well and enjoying where you are now. Telegraph Cove misses you’re smiling faces and bright spirits.

We departed Telegraph Cove on board the Lukwa for the last time on October 2. It was, as always, an amazing adventure into the wildness of British Columbia! We are so gifted to be able to operate out of this marvellous area on the B.C. Coast. With Humpback Whale sightings everyday since May, our guests were lucky to be able to see these majestic giants on practically every trip! In fact, on one of our last tours we were able to identify 29 individuals. We’re pretty sure that’s a record breaker. Incredible!

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

The Northern Resident Orca returned to our area in mid-July and sightings were consistent until about the middle of September. We spent many wonderful moments listening to them vocalize, socialize and so much more. Steller Sea Lions book ended the season and the high predictability of Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles and Dall’s Porpoise were always fascinating to watch.

No wonder our staff pack up their lives and move to this remarkable location for up to four and a half months, or, that Captain Wayne has been doing this for 20 years. There is something truly spectacular about Telegraph Cove, the 40 mile radius of ocean just outside it and the stunning amount of marine life that make their home here.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver.

In closing, we would like to say thank you! To our guests, who have been coming here from around the world for over 36 years. To our staff, who work tirelessly ensuring wonderful guest experiences, clean boats, an organized office and gift shop on top of so much more. During the winter months we will all return home. This office, which was built in 1928 will be torn down and rebuilt. The Cove, will be quiet as we say our final goodbyes to 2016 but rest assured in about six months from now, we will be back. Smiling and bright, excited and busy, our staff will be unpacking and preparing for another busy summer with Stubbs Island Whale Watching.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

We look forward to a hustling and bustling boardwalk once more and welcoming you as you board one of our boats to adventure into the wild. Enjoy your winter, warm cups of cocoa by the fire, family holidays and everything else that lays ahead. We will see you in 2017! Thank you! We feel very privileged to be able to share this unique and incredibly bio-diverse area with you. We hope you enjoyed your adventures. What a wonderful season it was!

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Sunday October 2, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogivlie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Today was a bittersweet day as we departed Telegraph Cove for the last time this season. It could not have been a better day to end on, we had great Humpback activity, Dall’s Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions and then an unexpected surprise near the end of the tour that we will tell you about a little bit later.

Consistent with the last two weeks, we immediately set out in search of Humpback Whales. It did not take long for guests on board to spot the first blow. So off we went, as Captain Wayne adjusted the course of Lukwa to take us into a good viewing position. We watched as the Humpback Whale known as Galaxy surfaced in amazing light and calm conditions. The whale fluked and guests patiently awaited for it to resurface. When Glaxay resurfaced, we watched her/him blow. Then, surprise! A second Humpback Whale known as Muppet surfaced close by. The whales were surfacing directly towards each other. Then at the next surfacing we watched as they adjusted course and began travelling together. We imagine these types of meetings happen often but we have never been witness to it before. It was a truly fascinating moment.

Humpback activity continued throughout the afternoon as we made our way North, in a direction where there has been a lot of activity as of late. Everywhere we looked there were Humpback Whales. Blows could be heard in all directions and tail flukes seemed to be happening everywhere we looked. Amazing to see so many of these giants all in such close proximity.

Then, bird activity began to pick up. We could see Sea Gulls who were previously soaring above, begin to congregate in specific areas and pluck at the surface. This indicates that small groups of herring were forming into tight balls just below the surface. Then the feeding started. We watched Humpback Whales lunge feeding both in close proximity and off in the distance. Their huge mouths could be seen ripping through the surface scooping up huge mouthfuls of fish.

Then when things started to die down and we were just about to make our move, a guest on board yelled out, “BREACH!” Everyone on board turned their heads to watched in the distance as the giant whale leapt from the ocean and left a huge splash in it’s wake. Then the crackle of the radio sounded, the unexpected surprise we spoke of at the beginning – Transient (mammal-eating) Orca and not far away – we were off!

We caught up with them as they were making their entrance into the Pearse Island group. They were the T010s, a matriline consisting of mom and her two mature sons. They were displaying typical Transient behaviour, taking long dives and being very stealthy. They were difficult to keep track of at times but guests keen eyes kept us on track and within sight. We worked our way along through a small passage watching  mom travel in between her two sons. What a wonderful way to end off the afternoon.

Hard to believe the season is already over. Thank you to everyone on our team for their dedication and hard work. Another huge thank you to all our guests who travelled from both near and far. It is a delight everyday to be able to adventure onto the waters just outside Telegraph Cove and share this remarkable area with you. It has been a wonderful season and we look forward to many more in the years to come.

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Muppet, Galaxy, Inukshuk, Freckles, Pultney, Slash and Ocular (calf), Domino and Stingray
Transient (Bigg’s) Orca: T10s

Other Wildlife
Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Poropise, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Ancient Murrelets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.” – Belby Porteous

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Saturday October 1, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Adios September and Ola October. We set sail into a beautiful morning sun with a boat full of international students from Langley. We have been so lucky this week to have such incredible weather and it continued today. In the afternoon guests from across the globe and as close as Campbell River, B.C. joined us as we made our second journey out onto the Pacific Ocean.

The trip started out right away with an active group of Dall’s Porpoise who chose to ride on the bow of the boat. The conditions were picture perfect for this moment as they could be seen clearly both above and below the surface. Often breaking through and leaving rooster tails in their wake. We also had a similar Dall’s Porpoise sighting in the afternoon as we came across an active group who then swam towards us and also chose to ride alongside the Lukwa.

With a report coming in early on in the day, we were excited to here that the Resident (fish-eating) Orca had returned to our area from the east. We caught up with them in both the morning and the afternoon. Most of our sightings of this matriline was of them spread out and foraging for fish. Then a little later on in the afternoon a wonderful photo opportunity as they all grouped up together in their family. Then they all surfaced in perfect unison. Beautiful!

Humpback Whales continue their feeding and increased activity. Multiple individuals were seen on both tours today. Feeding at depths in the morning and on the surface in the afternoon. Guests were able to see multiple surfaces and tail flukes. Then some bird activity appeared on the horizon and we watched as the Humpback Whale known as Quartz lunge fed on three different ‘bait balls’ one after the other. Just moving along from one group of juvenile herring to the next.

On our return to the cove in the afternoon the wind picked up a little bit. As we were travelling along guests were informed to keep ‘one hand for themselves’, in order to keep their balance. Then a big splash in the distance in front of us as a Humpback Whale breached. Sometimes in windy conditions like this we occasionally see increased surface behaviours like breaching. With guidance from our on board naturalist Alison, guests were able to catch the second breach when we were a little closer. Spectacular to see this giant whale propel out of the water and be able to make out the twisting motion common with breaching.

Exciting news to share with you in closing. Today was supposed to be our last day for tours but because of demand we will run one more tour – tomorrow at 1pm.   If you haven’t yet seen how much this amazing area has to offer, tomorrow might be your last chance. Don’t hesitate, every day is a new adventure and we never quite know what nature has in store, but we can bet it will take your breath away.

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Ridge, Argonaut, Cutter, Moonstar, Ripple, Merge and Quartz.
Resident Orca: I12 matriline

Other Wildlife
Dall’s Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Rhinoceros Auklets, Ancient Murrelets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“We should not let our fears hold us back form pursuing our hopes.”  – John F. Kennedy

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Thursday September 29, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Well friends, September is almost over, how time flies, especially on beautiful days like today. The sun was shining, the guests were fully engaged and the Humpback Whales were out feeding in full force. We had two tours depart Telegraph Cove today. This morning we hosted a school tour for kids from Fort Rupert Elementary School. Then in the afternoon we welcomed guests from across the globe to explore the wonderful adventure that awaits just outside the cove.

Humpback Whales were astounding to watch today. Feeding is definitely on the agenda for these giants at this time of year and we were lucky to see lots of surface feeding today. On the morning trip, the kids were pointing out bird activity every time we came across it. Then with a little patience, a few moments passed by and then – lunge feed! In the morning we watched three individuals rip through the surface, engulfing huge mouths of fish. In the afternoon, feeding continued as we watched two double lunge feeds. This means we watched two Humpback Whales propel themselves from the water in unison with mouths wide open. It was breath taking to see!

A fascinating moment spent watching Slash’s calf Ocular today. Separate from mom Ocular has frequently been seen engaging in play behaviour and today was no different, or so we thought. We watched as Ocular rolled in the kelp and tail lobbed multiple times. Then just to the left we noticed some bird action forming. Seeing as Ocular is a calf we did not think he/she would partake in feeding on his/her own. We were wrong. Suddenly Ocular lunge feed all on his/her own. Amazing to see this calf feeding independently.

Another surprise in the afternoon as we received a report of a male Orca in the area. We headed over to check it out immediately. There he was, surfacing in the clam as glass water. You could see his blow hanging in the air like a cloud. Unsure whether or not this was a Resident or Transient Orca, Captain Wayne deployed the hydrophone. Suprise! G-Clan calls, meaning this was a Resident (fish-eating) Orca. Likely returning to this area because of a run of Chum Salmon, their second choice of Salmon after Chinook Salmon.

There was so much activity today it is difficult to fit it all onto one page. In addition to all the whale activity we also had Dall’s Porpoise who chose to ride on the bow of the boat. Steller Sea Lions hauled out, vocalizing and whacking fish at the surface. There was Pacific Harbour Seals that in the morning you could see the mist coming off them from their body heat. Pretty cool. Then last but not least, we saw a plethora of Sea Birds, especially Common Murres.

Our countdown continues to the end of the 2016 season and things could not be any better. With three tours left this season, we have begun packing up the office for off season construction and the sun continues to shine in beautiful historic Telegraph Cove. We can hardly wait for the new adventure that awaits us on Saturday. Sweet dreams friends!

Identified Individuals
-Humpback Whales: Moonstar, Argonaut, Ridge, Frosty, Merge Slash and Ocular (calf), Inukshuk and Guardian
-Resident Orca: I12s

Other Wildlife
Dall’s Porpoise, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron, Sooty Shearwaters, Pelagic Cormorants, Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie. image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie.

Imagine flat calm seas, brilliant sunshine and Humpback Whales everywhere you look. Those were the conditions that guests onboard today’s whale watch got to enjoy.

Just minutes out of Telegraph Cove and we had already spotted the first exhalations of Humpback Whales rising in the distance. Getting a closer look, we could see that it was Argonaut, Cutter and Ridge who surfaced in glassy calm seas. Our attention was drawn to a group of birds who circled over a group of small schooling fish (likely juvenile herring). When the birds lifted off, Argonaut very slowly came to the surface with his/her mouth open in a lunge feed.

Through the islands the sun shone down creating incredibly vibrant colours. Great Blue Herons fished from the kelp beds and Bald Eagles ate their catches perched in the trees. Steller Sea Lions were spotted surfacing everywhere and growls from Sea Lions at the haul-out echoed through the passes.

Looking across Blackfish Sound, Humpback Whale exhalations rose in every direction. Stingray and Inukshuk spent a lot of time at the surface traveling together and fluking often. Both of these whales have mainly white colouration on the underside of their tails, yet the shape and pattern on each is very different. Guests were able to easily compare the two whales and see the differences.

In the distance we could see a group of Sooty Shearwaters feeding on schooling fish and Humpback Whales nearby. Patience paid off and after a few minutes of observing these birds feed, we watched in awe as Conger and Moonstar, two Humpback Whales simultaneously exploded out of the water spraying schooling fish in all directions! Moonstar then returned, opening his mouth at least twice at the surface. Perhaps he had also engulfed a diving bird and was trying to get it out of his mouth. Since Humpback Whale throats are only about the size of a grapefruit, if any birds accidentally get into their mouthes, they have to let them out!

In total, we were able to identify 16 different Humpback Whales while out on the water today. We continue to contribute these sightings to the Marine Education and Research Society as they document the comeback of Humpback Whales into this area. This year we are seeing more Humpbacks in the area than ever and the activity is only getting better!

Come join us and be blown away by the activity that September has to offer!

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Freckles, Inukshuk, Stingray, Slash, Ocular, Yahtzee, Conger, Muppet, Moonstar, Guardian, Cutter, Argonaut, Ridge, Galaxy and Ripple

Other Wildlife
Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Belted Kingfishers, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Ancient Murrelets, Pelagic Cormorants, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters, Pacific Loons, Surf Scoters and Red-necked Phalaropes. WOW!!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“It is only possible to live happy-ever-after on a day to day basis”- Margaret Bonnano

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Tuesday September 27, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

We don’t know who brought the sun with them but we’ll take it. The weather was marvellous today. After days of rain and wind, today was packed with sunshine and wonderfully calm conditions as we ventured out onto the Pacific Ocean.

Alison, our head naturalist calls this her favourite costal region “because of how much you can see in the area just outside Telegraph Cove.” This was evident today as we just broke the mouth of the cove and our first sighting began – Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Then something we didn’t see coming, a Sea Otter poked his/her head out. That was a surprise! None the less we continued on our path towards the dolphins. An exciting way to start the trip as this group chose to ride on the bow and in the wake of the Lukwa. In fact the lighting conditions were so pristine at this moment you could see rainbows in their blows.

The dolphins shortly departed and we went in search of the majestic giant Humpback Whales. If you have been reading our blog lately you’ll know there has been a lot of Humpbacks in our area lately. We were making our way along when the crackle of the radio sounded. Activity! and not far off. We arrived to find five different Humpback Whales all traveling together. Amazing as we watched them fluke one after the other.Our on board naturalist was able to identify all five of these individuals. They are known as Tag, Fern, Domino, Muppet and Merge. We watched as they traveled along together with a group of Steller Sea Lions. Then eventually they began to disperse and we went in search of what else mother nature had in store.

Sea bird activity continues in the area. Not surprising given all the Humpback feeding. With the calm conditions it was a delight to watch good sized rafts of Common Murres. Guests were able to easily make out their distinctive white bellies as they slightly stood up at the surface and flapped their wings. For those of our followers who don’t know, these are the superstars of the diving birds and can go to a depth of a hundred and sixty meters. A delight for bird and whale lovers both, as these birds help drive Herring into tight balls and up to the surface. This can also result in surface feeding amongst Humpback Whales.

Today guests were able to take in the full spectrum of what this area has to offer. We saw Dall’s and Harbour Porpoises, many Pacific Harbour Seals, over a hundred Steller Sea Lions and so much more. Also consistently since May we continue to see Humpback Whales everyday but now in greater numbers than we have seen all season. There were blows in the distance every we looked again today! Only four days left in #spectacularseptember, let the countdown begin! We hope you join us for the last remaining trips of 2016.

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Merge, Muppet, Domino, Tag, Fern, Slash and Ocular (calf), Freckles, Argonaut, Ripple and Corporal.

Other Wildlife
Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoise, Harbour Porpoise, Sea Otter, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfish, Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“No amount of study or learning will make a man a leader unless he has the natural qualities to do so.” – Sir Archibald Wavell.

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Monday September 26, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

If you ask any of our staff and crew, there is no better way to start your day than on the lively Pacific Ocean and that’s exactly what we did today. We departed Telegraph Cove at 9 a.m. and super excited about what may lay in store. We were pleasantly surprised as always at what we were able to witness.

For the fourth day in a row now we have watched while multiple Humpback Whales actively fed mixed in with hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions and hundreds of Sea Gulls. Nothing compares to the first day but this is still remarkable to be able to see. In fifty one years on the British Columbia Coast Captain Wayne says, “he has never seen feeding activity like this”. We watched as approximately eight Humpback Whales worked in and around the dolphins. At times we were able see five of these majestic whales all surface at the same time, their blows lingering in the air. This feeding activity went on for over an hour and half. We watched as the whales and dolphins just continued to move from one location to the next, it was mind-blowing.

The Pacific White-sided Dolphins were equally incredible to watch during this event. When fishing Pacific White-sided Dolphins can display some amazing acrobatics. They could be seen leaping feet into the air both as individuals and sometimes even in groups and pairs. What a moment when two of the dolphins leapt up and then inverted towards each other and down towards the surface. Then as if things could not get more amazing, a moment that truly took our breath away; hundreds of dolphins changed course and chose to swim in the direction of the Lukwa. Individuals could be seen both in close and far proximity. Words cannot explain what the eye is able to behold in this instance but it was jaw-dropping and there seemed to be dolphins everywhere.

A calmer but equally exciting moment, the California Sea Lion we have been seeing lately has been the lone California Sea Lion – until today! Now there are two. They are hauling out with a large group of Steller Sea Lions in the area. Speaking of Steller Sea Lions there were more individuals in the water today then there were hauled out. Not unusual for a high tide as there is less rock and thus less room. We often see them in the water and rafting together but today there seemed to be more than we typically see in these rafts, which is always interesting.

Friends of Stubbs, we are sad to say but the countdown is on towards the end of the season. We are shocked at how quickly the time has come and gone. Everyday we depart the cove we are on the edge of our seats. The feeding activity we have been able to witness the last few days tells a true tale of just how rich and alive this area is. Have we told you lately how much we love it here?

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Galaxy, Conger, Ojos Blancos, Ripple, Inukshuk, Ridge, Moonstar, Freckles, Argonaut, Muppet and Twister.

Other Wildlife
Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Sooty Shearwaters Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” – George Elliot

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Sunday September 25, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

We’re not going to lie to you friends it was a windy one today but well worth it. With Johnstone Strait roaring and white capped, the first fifteen minutes on board felt a little bit like a roller coaster as we rocked back and forth. Then once we crossed the strait it calmed down quite a bit, pretty typical for a day with a strong South East wind.

The California Sea Lion we spoke of seeing for the first time in awhile is still hanging around today. Guests could see him hauled out with 100’s of Steller Sea Lions. We were alerted to his presence right away from the barking sound mixed in with the typical Steller growl. You can also easily distinguish California Sea Lions from Steller Sea Lions by their size, darker colour and pronounced forehead.

Humpback sightings continue to amp up! Again, we were able to see so many individuals and such interesting behaviours. Slash and her calf Ocular were seen surfacing in tandem. A fascinating moment for guests to be able to see the immense size difference between an adult Humpback and a calf. Speaking of size, guests on board were not quite grasping the unbelievable size of Humpback Whales until one of them breached. Spectacular to see the whale’s huge body as it lunged from the ocean and twisted in the air before flopping back into the water.

Typical for September, feeding activity continues. Jaws dropped on board at being able to see a Humpback Whale trap feeding. This huge whale hanging at the surface with it’s mouth wide open seemed to take people’s breath away. Fascinating that these whales can open their mouths back two thirds of the way down their body. Once again but on a considerably smaller scale than the first time we saw it three days ago, we watched as Humpback Whales fed mixed in amongst Pacific White-sided Dolphins. There had to be at least six Humpbacks and hundreds of dolphins.

After the feeding started to die down, the dolphins swam past the stern of the boat displaying some wonderful acrobatics. They were leaping multiple feet into the air and porpoising as they went along. Not surprising considering Pacific White-sided Dolphins are the most acrobatic dolphins in the world.

Then on our way back to the harbour a quiet and peaceful moment watching Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out and warming themselves on a rocky shoreline. A guest on board asked why some are so much bigger than others? The answer – just like us seals come in different shapes and sizes. It can also be related to feeding and that some Pacific Harbour Seals just happen to eat more than others.

Another wonderful day in the books on the beautiful Pacific! It still never ceases to amaze us how much we are able to see in only three and a half hours. With only six days left this season we are actively working to stay in the moment and look forward to our next excursion tomorrow into the wild blue yonder!

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Lucky, Conger, Cutter Freckles, Moonstar, Domino, Slash and Ocular (calf), Argonaut, Ripple and Ojos Blancos.

Other Wildlife
Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Sooty Shearwaters Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“Confidence is the directness and courage in meeting the facts of life.” – John Dewey

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Saturday September 24, 2016 – MV Lukwa

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver. Image taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Super September Saturday is our headline today and what else can we call it, with hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, the return of the California Sea Lion and continued Humpback activity. Blows everywhere you see as the waters outside Telegraph Cove have been bumping with wildlife.

This morning started off with a bang as came across eight Humpback Whales all feeding in a tide rip. It was Humpbacks everywhere and this continued throughout the day. After watching this group feed for some time we continued on and came across a group of over 300 Pacific White-sided Dolphins. The dolphins were scooting along the the shore and frequently changing directions, quite spectacular to see.

Then in the distance we spotted many blows and all pretty close together. We didn’t know then but we were about to see something our naturalist says she “has never seen in this area before.” A group of five Humpback Whales travelling together, all in a row. In fact they were travelling so close together another vessel on the water mistook them for Orca we found out later on. This group of Humpbacks, five in fact, were identified by our naturalist as Tag, Muppet, Fern, Nippy and Quartz. The incredibleness of this moment was the close proximity of the individuals. Then a moment that took our breath away,  a triple tail fluke as three of the five all went down for a dive in unison. Wow!

As the Humpbacks were traveling a Steller Sea Lion could be seen not to far off. It appeared as if he was checking out what was going on, frequently sticking his head out of the water . Speaking of Steller Sea Lions we had a really interesting sighting of a small group of them as they travelled in Blackfish Sound. The group was seen porpoising out of the water in unison. They continued to travel as if a dolphin would, jumping clear out of the water as they moved forward. Of course they could also be seen hauled out and vocalizing in certain locations as well.

Humpback sightings continued in the afternoon as we watched Inukshuk along with Jigger and her calf Google in close proximity. Interesting watching Inukshuk as of late, as he has been seeing travelling alongside known females on frequent occasions. Inukshuk is a confirmed male by the Marine Education and Research Society, so quite intriguing to see him seeking out females like this. The calf in this instance was also very active as calves tend to be and could be seen tail lobbing and head lobbing. Overall a very fascinating event.

Blows continued in every direction we looked when Captain Wayne and Alison picked up on Pacific White-sided Dolphins and Humpback blows not to far off. So off we went! When we arrived we were shocked to see a mini version of the same feeding frenzy we saw yesterday. With hundreds of Sea Gulls trying to get their share of food from above, while below hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins were swimming in circles with Humpback Whales mixed in with them. Humpback Whales were also seen racing in to try and get their share of the food. Then when it dispersed the dolphins took off like a stamped. You could hear the sound of them ripping through the water. Super cool!

Well, what else can we say but #spectacularseptember continues. There are so many Humpback Whales in the area right now it is astonishing. Literally blows in every direction we look. Add to that, the frequent dolphin sightings of late and in large groups and a profusion of Steller Sea Lions. We are dumbfounded with the amount of activity going on. With only 6 days left in the season we are holding our breath as to what might happen next.

Identified Individuals
Humpback Whales: Lucky, Conger, Freckles, Moonstar, Cutter, Domino, Tag, Nippy, Fern, Muppet, Quartz, Inukshuk with a Mom and calf pair. Maude and Linea

Other Wildlife
Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lion Dall’s Porpoise Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Sooty Shearwaters Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day
“Nobody’s problem is ideal. Nobody has things just as he would like them.” – Dr. Frank Crane

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