Too Many Sightings to Fathom

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

A member of the I15 matriline of Fish-eating Orca pokes his/her head out of the water, exposing his/her blowhole.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (I15, I4, I65, G3, A30, A23, and A25 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Hunter, Ripple, Ridge, Inukshuk, Merge and Black Pearl), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and Red-necked Phalaropes.

Listen to vocals of the Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca, that were recorded live on our 9am tour today.

Merge the Humpback Whale shows her fluke before going down for a deeper dive.

A great shot of a Fish-eating Orca.

A mature Bald Eagle perched atop a tree.

The reflection of the trees in the water made for a beautiful backdrop as we watched the Fish-eating Orca travel up Johnstone Strait this afternoon.

A look at the beautiful white fluke of Inukshuk the Humpback Whale.

Three Steller Sea Lions poking their head out of the water. The difference in size between the mature males versus the female or juvenile is obvious in this picture.

Guests onboard our evening tour enjoy the sunset over Stubbs Island.

Some Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out at high tide, waiting for the tide to go back down. This is usually the only way the seals can get to top of a rocky reef.

A mature and a juvenile Bald Eagle perched in a tree. Can you tell which is which?

Sometimes it is hard to fathom how amazing this area is and how lucky we are to operate here and share it with people like you from across the globe. Today’s tours were filled with sightings, much like the days before and no doubt many more to come.

There were once again multiple matrilines of Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca in our area. It’s almost impossible to take in the shear number of whales that we were seeing today, but they were everywhere. Whether we looked left, right or far out onto the horizon, there were Orca. A truly exceptional moment in the afternoon when we were not sure just what was happening. We dropped our hydrophone but we were not hearing vocals, not abnormal as there are many times when the whales are silent. However, we were hearing vocals but not through the hydrophone. We were hearing vocals and sounds above the surface. A very cool moment indeed.

Steller Sea Lions are continuing to return to our area. We are seeing more and more of them swimming in the water with their heads poking out. A wonderful moment today as watched two of them touch noses at the surface.

Bald Eagles dawned many tree tops and Pacific Harbour Seals were hauled out on many shorelines.

Humpback Whales were lunge feeding on groups of juvenile Herring and one more than one occasion, guests on board were able to see multiple Humpback Whales in the same location. Their flukes dawned the horizons as these giants of the oceans dove underwater. Given the number of Humpback Whales we see on our tours now, it is hard to imagine a time (not that long ago!) when they were a rare sighting. What a wonderful recovery this species has made. A true good news story!

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip!

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching, taken by Jennie Leaver, Ashley Nielsen, and Chloe Warren with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Multiple Marine Mammal Species……together!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Nothing like the sunshine reflecting off the water and the black backs of Northern Resident Orcas as they surface for air

A group of Steller Sea Lions surface through the islands this morning.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale surfaces in glassy calm seas.

Exhale! These fish-eating killer whales return to the surface for air.

Head down, tails up! This young fish-eating killer whale does a head stand.

Surfacing in the fog, this mature male killer whale appears with Bull Kelp draped over his fin.

Can you spot the Dall’s Porpoise in front of this group of fish-eating Orcas? Sometimes the porpoises will pester this ecotype of Orcas as they did this morning.

Do you see Inukshuk the Humpback Whale emerging from the Bull Kelp?

What beautiful conditions we had all day on our tours…..sunshine and super calm seas.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale cruises right past the shoreline. No problem, since the shoreline drops right off and the waters are often very deep even close to land.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (I15, G3, A30, A23, and A25 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Ridge, Cutter, Inukshuk, Merge, Black Pearl, Argonaut), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and Red-necked Phalaropes. 

What a crazy day of multiple marine mammal species interacting we had out there. We saw it all, and often the species were together!

Over 80 Orca were in the area today, and we watched as they slowly made their way through the islands in large groups. Eventually these groups made it out into the more wide open spaces and we watched them surface through glassy calm seas.  The sound across the calm seas was sensational today, we could clearly hear the distinctive calls of both the A and G Clans over the hydrophone. Everywhere we looked the fins of these Orcas were breaking the surface, and sometimes the larger exhalations of Humpback Whales could be seen in the distance as well. The Orcas were joined by smaller cetaceans all day. Sometimes we could see Pacific White-sided Dolphins surfacing in front of and around the Orcas and other times there were Dall’s Porpoises scooting about in front of them. Often the Porpoises and Dolphins (who can tell the difference between the types of Orcas that will eat them and those that won’t) will pester the Orcas and it can be compared to having a little sibling pester you. Why do they do it? It could be just because they can, or so that the dolphins and porpoises can learn by provoking. Regardless, for most of the day, the Orcas could be seen with small splashes darting in and around them as they were followed by the much faster animals.

The Humpbacks too, had company on their journeys today. Inukshuk the Humpback Whale swam very close to the islands today, and was joined by some Steller Sea Lions who surfaced around him/her. The Humpback could be heard trumpeting (forcefully exhaling from his/her blowhole) as this happened, maybe in frustration at the Steller Sea Lions. Inukshuk then continued along the shoreline, to the Bull Kelp forest. There we watched in awe as he slowly surfaced within the algae and rolling about. The waters were so clear that it was possible to see the white upper pectoral fins of Inukshuk as the whale swam under the surface. We do sometimes see Humpbacks rolling in the Bull Kelp, and it could be that they know to go to these areas and enjoy the feeling of the kelp rolling over their bodies. We will never know for sure, but it sure is spectacular to watch them emerge draped in algae.

So many species and so much interaction…what will tomorrow bring?

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip!

All images property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Taken with a telephoto lens and cropped by Alex McDonald, Alison Ogilvie, Johanna Ferrie and Jennie Leaver.

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Excitement and Activity All Day!

Spyhop! A Northern Resident Orca pops straight up above the water

Eye to eye with a Pacific Harbour Seal

Members of the A30 Matriline of Fish-eating Orcas surface together.

Dall’s Porpoises make a splash as they quickly cut through a boat wake

A mature Bald Eagle against bright blue skies

Ridge the Humpback Whale demonstrates exactly why humpback whales are know for their massive pectoral fins or “wings”

A magnificent look at the throat plates of a humpback whale

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks among long strands of bull kelp

Common Murres, the superstars of the diving birds!

Ripple the Humpback Whale trap feeds among the diving birds

Steller Sea Lions getting a better look around them above the water

Monday, August 14, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (I15, G3, A30, A23, and A25 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Ridge, Squiggle, Cutter, Nick, Tag, Inukshuk, Ripple, Slash, Domino, Argonaut), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Oyster Catchers, Great Blue Heron.

What a day! The amount of wildlife and activity that we saw and heard today wowed everybody on board – crew included. The day began with one of the clearest mornings that we’ve had in weeks. Mountain peaks on the mainland hovered above the mirror-like conditions into which we ventured. The calm of the seas made a wonderful contrast to the amount of action we saw, however.

Humpback Whales were busy feeding, being active at the surface, possibly posturing at one another or the Orcas in the area, and trumpeting. Fish-eating Orcas continually wested slowly from the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve, accompanied by a few Dolphins in the morning. Some of the juveniles spy-hopped, tail-slapped, and rolled at the surface. Vocalizations could be heard through our hydrophone, distinct G-clan and A-clan calls audible. Common Murres and Rhinoceros Auklets dotted the surface, constantly diving and popping up as they schooled together small fish. Gulls circled overhead, cashing in on the work of the diving birds. Dall’s Porpoises raced through the Strait, creating rooster tail splashes.

It was hard to choose a direction to look as Bald Eagles dotted treetops, Seals rested on rocks, and this flurry of activity happened around us!

Humpback activity highlights: Ridge and Squiggle lunge feeding on the same Herring as the birds in one area. Inukshuk tail-lobbing as Porpoises harassed him. Multiple other Humpbacks trumpeting as Orcas passed nearby. A multi-whale lunge-feed by Ripple, Slash, Domino, and 2 other whales. Ripple trap-feeding. Humpbacks breaching in the distance with a Coastal Mountain backdrop. 

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The Sunshine is Back… So are the Orcas! (for now…)

Sunday August 13, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

G32, an adult male Northern Resident Orca who travels with the G3 Matriline.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (I15, G3, A30 A23 and A25 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Donegal, Argonaut, Merge, Freckles, Ripple, Slash, Hunter, Cutter and Moonstar), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Harlequin Ducks, Blue Heron, and Red-necked Phalaropes.

Pacific Harbour Seals haul out in the warm afternoon sun.

Members of G-Clan of Northern Resident Orcas surface, can you spot the calf popping up?

A Humpback Whale flukes in the mid-afternoon sun.

A head on look at a mature male Orca of the Northern Resident, (fish-eating) population.

A Mature Bald Eagle! Awesome looking in the lichen draped trees.

A triple tail fluke. All three Humpback Whales fluked one right after the other.

A great look at a swimming Steller Sea Lion. It passed right by while we were watching Killer Whales.

We never know what we will find out on the water when we leave Telegraph Cove but this morning and today surprised us even more than usual! We set out in search of Humpbacks, having reports in the area of one taking a narrow pass through some islands. We found Merge the Humpback Whale, cruising through the kelp beds. Argonaut and Donegal were also seen later in the day, travelling close together right beside Stubbs Island, while a group of active Steller Sea Lions were also seen amongst the Islands.

Further out into Blackfish Sound there was splashes to be seen and birds everywhere, so of course we had to check it out. As we got closer, we quickly realized this was no ordinary feeding frenzy! Humpback dorsal fins were spotted circling the area, punctuated by tail slaps and breaches! It was Ripple, Freckles, Slash and Moonstar the Humpback Whales, all feeding on a ball of fish, likely herring. They were incredibly active, we saw tail flukes waving, pectoral fins rising out of the water and the speed of these whales as they scooped up huge mouthfuls of fish.

That was enough to take our breath away… but the fun was just beginning. We had to leave the humpbacks to their lunch because we also got reports of Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas coming back into the area! Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard from the Vancouver Aquarium identified the I15 Matriline as well as the G3 Matriline. The G3’s haven’t been seen in this area in years! We heard the calls of G-Clan (who the I15’s and G3’s belong to) as well as the calls of A-Clan, indicating there were even more orcas in the area! As the day progressed, we got more reports and ID confirmations from Jared Towers of DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans). There turned out to be approximately 60 Orcas in our area by day’s end. Incredible!

As the day went on, we converged to the White Cliff Islands, where Humpback Whales, Orcas, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, and many different seabirds abounded. The flat sea was littered with dorsal fins and boats, from fishermen to whale watching vessels to sailboats. It was quite a sight!

As we made our way back to Telegraph Cove, small fins popped up ahead of the boat and made us pause: Pacific White-sided Dolphins or Dall’s Porpoises? Both! A small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins were travelling with a young Dall’s Porpoise, a sight we don’t often get to see!

As if the day was not enough, the Sunset Reflections tour brought exactly what is named after, an incredible sunset as well as incredible sightings. Guests got great looks at the A30 matriline who were foraging in an area while the rest of the whales had made their way into the Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve. Then later in the trip, a sight we do not often see

A member of the A30 matriline surfaces. Check out the blow lingering in the air.

Incredible sunset on our 5pm tour.

as 3 Humpback Whales were travelling together. Guests watched as they fluked almost in unison, one after the other.

We’ve had some spectacular days, as of late and it just keeps getting better. It is an amazing time to be on the water and we’re so grateful to see the things we see and to share it with amazing guests from around the world.

Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Alex McDonald, Jennie Leaver and Johanna Ferrie. All images are property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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A Wild Week with Stubbs!

Tours this week on board the M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta. Take a glimpse into our sightings from August 6 – August 12.

Sightings: Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca (A30, A23/25s, I15, I35, I68), Transient (mammal-eating) Orca (T90), Humpback Whales (Guardian, Ripple, Squiggle, Freckles, Lucky, Argonaut, Merge, Inukshuk, Conger, Slash, Domino, Moonstar, Galaxy, Black Pearl, 2 unknowns), Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Bald Eagles, Common Murres, Rhinocerous Auklets, Belted Kingfisher, Peregrine Falcon, and many more seabirds)

Freckles bubble net feeds and uses her pectoral fins. 

Multiple matrilines of Northern Resident Orcas.

Guardian and Merge the Humpback Whales diving together.

 

Freckles the Humpback Whale lobs her tail as an Orca swims past her.

A Pacific Harbour Seal hauls out of the water during low tide.

The incredible size of a mature male Steller Sea Lion.

A great look at Fife of the Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca. 

A Bald Eagle sits perched in a tree top, letting out a call.

Members of the T090 matriline of mammal hunting Orca surface in the calm waters.

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Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbbles!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa

A Pacific Harbour Seal hauls out of the water during low tide.

A giant ring of bubbles, moments before a Humpback Whale lunges through the middle.

Freckles scoops up all of the small schooling fish, also using her pectoral fins to push them towards her mouth.

Several Steller Sea Lions surface together.

The throat pleats on Moonstar expand as he/she take in a huge mouthful of fish and water after bubble-net feeding.

A misty morning around Stubbs Island.

Inukshuk surfaces, their giant blow visible even through the fog.

Pacific Harbour Seals haul out during low tide amongst the Bull Kelp.

A mature Bald Eagle soars away

A mating pair of Bald Eagles perches high above us. Did you know the female Bald Eagle is much larger than the male?

Backsplash the Humpback Whale shows off his style of solo bubble net feeding

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Black Pearl, Galaxy, Inukshuk, Merge, Freckles, Backsplash, Ridge, and Moonstar), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Harlequin Ducks, Blue Heron, and Red-necked Phalaropes.

The morning fog cleared up to yield a lovely trip out on calm waters. Right as we left Telegraph Cove, multiple groups of Dall’s Porpoises surrounded the boat, and a few of them even chose to ride the bow and wake of the boat for a brief instant. As we left Johnstone Strait and approached the islands, we quickly found half a dozen Steller Sea Lions making their way through the water, their exhalations resounding through the quiet. Both juvenile and mature Bald Eagles were seen perched atop trees, while Pacific Harbour Seals sat on the rocky shore below amongst the bull kelp.

We made our way across Blackfish Sound and found Inukshuk the Humpback Whale, tail-lobbing! As we made our way over to take a better look we could see him/her breaching out of the water, followed by a few pec-slaps on the water. Galaxy, Black Pearl and Argonaut the Humpback Whales were also spotted in the area.

The afternoon brought on more amazing Humpback sights. After another brief look at Argonaut we made our way over to the beginning of Knight’s Inlet. What we saw there was truly jaw-dropping. We saw both Moonstar and Freckles the Humpback Whales solo bubble-net feeding! Not only could you see the giant bubble rings being formed, you could actually hear the bubbles popping at the surface as they pushed together all the small schooling fish (likely Herring.) Again and again we saw both whales lunge out of the water, giving us great looks into their massive mouths, as well as all the baleen plates hanging from their upper jaw.

The evening did not disappoint either, with Humpback Whales surfacing in all directions, including Argonaut, Ridge and Inukshuk. We got reports of another Humpback Whale bubble net feeding near Knight’s Inlet and to our surprise it was Backsplash the Humpback Whale! This was the first time we have seen him in this area this year. It was amazing to be able to compare the different styles these three Humpbacks used to capture fish in the centre of the bubble nets, some times they would come straight out of the water, some times they would come up sideways and once Backsplash even appeared to rise to the surface upside down! Today left our guests (and staff) feeling as light  and bubbly as a bubble net!     

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip. 

All images property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching, taken with a telephoto lens and cropped. Photos by Chloe Warren, Ashley Nielsen, Alex McDonald, and Johanna Ferrie.

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Biggs Orcas and a Humpback Whale Feeding Bonanza!

Members of the T090 matriline of mammal hunting Orca surface in the calm waters.

Today’s Sightings: Biggs (Mammal-hunting) Orca (T090 Matriline), Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Freckles, Inukshuk, Ripple, Conger, Slash, Domino, Lucky, Squiggle, Merge, and Moonstar), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes.

Lucky the Humpback Whale surfaces within a ring of bubbles he/she has just blown to corral small schooling fish.

Pacific Harbour Seals take a good look at us as we pass by.

Merge and Freckles surface and fluke together.

A Bald Eagle sits perched in a tree.

Two Steller Sea Lions surface amongst the islands, their large bodies visible in the clear water.

Groups of Steller Sea Lions are becoming a common sight on our tours as they make their way into our area.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale surfaces as he/she feeds in the islands.

Surprise! Mammal Hunting Orcas were seen on today’s tours and very close to Telegraph Cove. A family of 6 Orca were reported early this morning, and they weren’t far away. We followed this family as they slowly traveled up the coastline, ducking into areas where we know, and they likely also know, to find Pacific Harbour Seals at their haul-outs. We saw some splashes and activity which was likely the Orcas making a snack of at least one of these Pacific Harbour Seals. These same Orcas, which were identified by Jared Towers of DFO as the T090s, tried to make a snack out of some fast moving Dall’s Porpoises in the afternoon. We saw one big splash, and that was it before the Orcas slowly continued on, surfacing all together as they left them on this calm afternoon.

The Humpback Whale feeding frenzy is on in Blackfish Sound. Humpbacks were everywhere today, most of which were feeding in some form. Inukshuk the Humpback Whale was seen circling and trumpeting very close to shore through the islands. You could see the small schooling fish that this whale was likely feeding on as he surfaced very close to shore. Lucky was also feeding close to shore, but using the bubble net feeding technique. The conditions were flat calm and perfect to see the bubble rings that Lucky had blown forming at the surface. Not far away, other Humpback Whales were relying on diving birds to school up their prey. At least 8 Humpback Whales were seen, many of them lunge feeding through schools of herring. It was amazing to see the fish fly out of their mouths as the  Humpbacks exploded out of the water.

Through the islands, all was still and calm. Steller Sea Lions were seen swimming in groups, and Pacific Harbour Seals bobbed up and down in the Bull Kelp. We slowly drifted through the passes. Mature Bald Eagles were seen high up in the trees, while chattering Belted Kingfishers darted from island to island. This is our favourite way to wind down after all of the day’s activity.

Photo credits: Alison Ogilvie, Jennie Leaver, Alex McDonald, Chloe Warren and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lans and cropped.

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Malcom Island….and Killer Whales!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

So many fins! We got lucky again this afternoon, catching up with a large group of fish-eating killer whales.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A23, A25, A30, I15, I35, I68 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Merge, Guardian, Inukshuk, two unknowns), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes.

Two Steller Sea Lions surface amongst the islands, their large bodies visible in the clear water.

The beautiful fluke of one of the Humpback Whales our crew was not able to identify. Do you know who he/she is?

Merge and Guardian the Humpback Whales travelling together, the sun shining through their blows.

Guardian the Humpback Whale flukes through an angelic beam of light as the sun goes down

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin takes on the ocean head first!

The Pultney Point Lighthouse as seen on our circumnavigation of Malcom Island this afternoon.

Fish-eating Orcas surfacing together this afternoon.

Guardian and Merge the Humpback Whales diving together.

Guardian the Humpback Whale fluking in a deep dive.

A young member of the A30 matriline porpoises through the water.

One of many Common Murres that emerged from the fog this morning.

Have you ever gone around Malcolm Island? We did today in search of the Orcas and we got lucky!!

This morning after some searching in the fog, the weather cleared and the fins of dozens of Orcas could be seen surfacing over the horizon. The same group of over 40 orcas that we have been watching over the past week was spread out and foraging, surfacing in glassy calm seas. A light haze created bright, yet beautiful conditions in which to watch the Orcas. Some of the younger whales were quite playful and guests even saw some full breaches! We dropped our underwater microphone and heard the calls of these animals as they searched for food. Being so far out from other boats in the area, some of the vocalizations were especially clear in these quiet waters.

In the afternoon, Dall’s Porpoises surfaced all around us, some of them speeding along, sending big splashes of water into the air. There was also a large group of acrobatic Pacific White-sided Dolphins travelling along the shoreline of Malcolm Island, delighting us with their speed as the group passed us on both sides. Merge and Guardian the Humpback Whales swam together, while a pair of Steller Sea Lions moved in their direction. Both whales fluked, and we had a great view of their very different tails. The Orcas, having not traveled as far as we had thought, were now just in reach and we set off to find the large group. We found them at the far edge of our range, in small groups and traveling together… away from us. We watched at least four groups, one of which had over 20 whales as they surfaced in the light waves before having to turn back towards Telegraph Cove. We took the long back way home, around the top of Malcolm Island and got a great view of the Pultney Point Lighthouse which only happens a couple of times a season. We don’t travel this way very often.

The Killer Whales were out of our reach in the evening, but the amazing ecosystem just outside of Telegraph Cove did not disappoint. Our guests got an idea of how incredibly rich and diverse the wildlife around here is, as we followed Steller Sea Lions amongst the islands, watched Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on rocks, found a Black-tailed Deer feeding on the shoreline, looked up to Bald Eagles perched atop trees, and observed many more seabirds floating on the water as the evening fog slowly rolled in around us. As the sun slowly disappeared, we admired three different Humpback Whales slowly making their way West, their huge blows lit-up by the sunshine lingering in the still air. Guardian’s beautiful fluke was again seen, as well as two other Humpbacks unknown to us. Quite an exciting end to an unusual day!

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Astounding Numbers of Killer Whales

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Just a sample of some of the wildlife we saw today! Acrobatic dolphins, a Peregrine Falcon (such a rare sighting!), huge numbers of Fish-eating Orcas, Guardian the Humpback Whale, and seals.

The exhalations of Squiggle the Humpback Whale awes guests.

Two male Fish-eating Orcas travel together, the second one an individual known as Fife.

A mature Bald Eagle calls out.

A young orca pops above the surface for a look around.

Dall’s Porpoise breaking the glassy surface.

Our MV Lukwa watching Orcas and Humpbacks.

Guardian the Humpback Whale dives down.

A male Steller Sea Lion.

What a special surprise! A Peregrine Falcon.

Amazing visibility where we were, while smoke and fog slowly swallowed the sun.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A23, A25, A30, I15, I35, I68 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Hunter, Ridge, Freckles, Merge, Squiggle, Ripple, Argonaut, and Guardian), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Turnstones and Belted Kingfishers.

If you have been reading our sightings report as of late, you will not be totally astonished by today’s title. The morning marked the beginning of our sightings, as we came across the I16 matriline in the fog. As we continued our day we would soon be amazed at the numbers of whales that would end up returning from the East. As each tour left the dock we saw more and more of the Northern Resident Orcas. This culminated in a sighting in the afternoon when multiple matrilines were all grouped up and engaging in social behaviour and a large resting line. Just spectacular to see all of these individuals travelling so tightly together. At times you could see them physically touching one another.

This spectacular west coast day continued, as the fog ebbed in and out of the area. We got great glimpses at Pacific Harbour Seals, who were hauled out on multiple islands. Such a peaceful moment as we watched and took in their wonderful looks.

We had numerous looks at Humpback Whales as well, seeing six different individuals combined on today’s tours. We watched as they travelled, their blows misting in the sun that was starting to break through the fog. In the evening, Squiggle and Merge surfaced simultaneously, trumpeting, with orcas in the background! The calm conditions and the exceptional lighting made for majestic viewings.The blows lingered in the air and could be heard from miles away. As we were watching the Northern Residents Orca, Guardian the Humpback Whale breached in the distance, making for an exciting moment.

We ran 5 tours today, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm and cannot possibly talk about it all but we’ll try to summarize: we had a rare sighting of a Peregrine Falcon, not a bird we normally see; there were wonderful viewings of Pacific White-sided Dolphins as they decided to ride along the bow of the boat, be acrobatic, and harass the orcas; the silhouette of the small black and white dorsal fins of multiple Dall’s Porpoises sun’s reflected on the water; Bald Eagles dotted many trees and juveniles soared overhead; Humpback Whales were seen and heard constantly.


No surprise this location is considered one of the best places on earth to see whales and other marine mammals in their natural habitat! Come escape the ordinary with us and experience things like this for yourself – come into our office or book online today!

 All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald, Jennie Leaver, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Vocals, Activity, and a Peaceful Blanket of Fog at the End of the Day

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Blackfish Sound at sunset.

A great look at Fife, a Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca. Check out the two heads also popping out in the background.

One of the Bald Eagle chicks returns to its nest after a successful flight.

Spy Hop! Tail Slap!

The fluke of Galaxy the Humpback Whale.

A Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca porpoises after a Salmon.

Freckles the Humpback Whale lobs her tail as an Orca swims past her.

The Bald Eagle parents of the 3 chicks glow in the setting sun.

Gulp! Lucky the Humpback Whale engulfs a mouthful of Herring from the net of bubbles s/he created.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A23, A25, A30, I15, I35, I68 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Squiggle,Quartz, Galaxy, Freckles, Lucky), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Black Turnstones, Belted Kingfisher.

If you’re a Killer Whale lover, today was your day to be on the water! In the morning we caught up with the Northern Residents (fish-eating) Killer Whales as they made their way back from the east. Again there were more individuals than we could count and thankfully the researchers from Eagle Eye and Orcalab were able to confirm just who we were seeing. Both staff and guests were delighted to find out we were once again watching the same group we have been seeing for over a week now; this group consists of the A23, A25, A30, I15, I35 and I68 matrilines, so many Killer Whales!

The Killer Whale sightings continued into the afternoon and evening when we caught up with the same group. As luck would have it they were spread out and foraging not even five minutes outside of Telegraph Cove! Wonderful vocals could be hear every time we dropped our underwater microphone. There were also exceptional moments when we could hear vocals above the surface too. Not something we get to experience everyday!

Although this was a big day for viewing Orcas, we saw so many other amazing things that this area has to offer; Some, like the Pacific Harbour Seals, are here all year round while others, like the Humpback Whales, only seasonally. The sightings we got of humpbacks were also spectacular; Galaxy the Humpback Whale lifted his/her flukes high enough to draw guests’ breath away. Freckles tail-lobbed when orcas swam very close to her. Lucky bublle-net fed his/her way down the Swanson Island shoreline, such a spectacle to see the mouth burst through the ring of bubbles to eat all the Herring within!

The Bald Eagle chicks we have been closely following appear to have left the nest, literally! Beyond exciting. We got a great glimpse at a Steller Sea Lion as it swam just below the water and then surfaced a few times to breathe. We also caught glimpses of Pacific Harbour Seals heads floating in the water and the kelp beds of the small passages.

A combination of evening sun and smoke from some of the fires created glorious lighting that reflected off hauled out seals and the fins of the surfacing orcas. Such an amazing day of wildlife, nature, sounds, and of course the people on board!Returning from the evening trip, we sailed through blue skies as a fantastic sunset manifested. The fog seemed to follow us back to the dock, and slowly rolled in as we tied up. What a way to end the day.

You really need to experience this for yourself, so come into our office or check us out online to book your trip today!

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

Fife (A61) surfaces in the evening sun.

Lucky the Humpback Whale dives to bubble-net again.

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