Tuesday, July 22nd 2014 – MV Lukwa & Kuluta

Photo Credit - Catherine Grosson

Photo Credit - Catherine Grosson

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

On this morning’s trip the I115’s and A42’s were easting down Johnstone strait at a fair pace, we managed to catch up with these whales who were heading east at a quick 6 knots. These killer whales were spread out across the strait giving everyone on board great visibility of all 20 of these orcas. Guests on board the MV Lukwa jumped for joy as they saw 2 full breaches and tons of tail slaps from these amazing wild marine mammals. As we headed back to Telegraph Cove we saw tons of Dall’s porpoises and 100’s of jumping pink salmon on the flat calm beautiful waters of British Columbia.

 

As the MV Lukwa departed for the afternoons trip we headed straight out into Blackfish sound where we managed to spot 4 humpback whales that our onboard biologist identified as “Argonaut”, “Black Pearl”, “Domino” and the forth we were unable to identify. The afternoon was full of Steller sea lions, bow riding Dall’s porpoises and lots of seabirds! 100’s of rhinoceros auklets and Northern phalaropes, trees full of eagles and once again salmon jumping everywhere you looked! All in all a great day and we can’t wait to see what happens on our 5:30pm departure!

 

 

 

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“I can forget and you can forget but a piece of paper never forgets” –Saying

 

 

 

Next Available Tours:

Wednesday, July 23rd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Thursday, July 24th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Friday, July 25th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30 pm

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Monday, July 21st — MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Our morning tour started off with a bang after the Lukwa sailed out of Telegraph Cove in search of wildlife. We soon came across a pod of Northern Resident orcas known as the I15s. The orcas were spy hopping and tail slapping; additionally, our onboard hydrophone was able to pick up some great vocals! After we left the orcas we came across two humpbacks identified by our onboard

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

naturalist, Kyle, as “Conger” and “Guardian” using the MERS humpback identification catalogue. We then came across lots of active Dall’s porpoises that were riding the bow and wake of the Lukwa. Additionally we saw many types of marine birds including hundreds of rhinoceros auklets, some common murres and many Northern phalaropes. Last but not least there were huge

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

numbers of immature and mature bald eagles.

In the afternoon the Kuluta and the Lukwa joined forces and set out looking for some more adventure. This tour brought an equally astonishing and abundant presence of marine wildlife as the morning. Again, we came across the I15 Northern Resident orcas. It was a

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

beautiful sight to see these magnificent creatures resting so peacefully together. We also had bow and wake riding Dall’s porpoise. Additionally during this tour we were lucky enough to see four humpback whales identified by out onboard naturalist, Sophia, as “Guardian,” “Black Pearl,” “Slash” and “Humpless”. The afternoon was also topped off by the presence of many bald

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

eagles fishing and a variety of marine birds. The weather was a bit chilly today, but the conditions made for perfect lighting for photography!

 

 

 

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“Every day I wake up a little afraid, only a fool is never afraid” – Ron Meyer

Next Available Tours:

Tuesday, July 22nd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Wednesday, July 23rd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Thursday, July 24th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

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Sunday, July 20th — MV Lukwa

The dreary and damp weather in Telegraph Cove did not affect our guest’s excitement as

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

the Lukwa sailed out into the sheltered waters of Johnstone Strait for our morning tour. Adventure was waiting! Soon after leaving Telegraph Cove, we spotted a young bald eagle in its nest and a mature eagle perched in a tree nearby. We then proceeded on our journey and came across two humpback whales swimming side by side in the distance. These whales were identified by our

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

onboard naturalist, Sophia, as “Domino” and “Stripe” using the MERS humpback identification catalogue. We also happened to spot a few Steller’s sea lions swimming in the water. In total we saw five humpback whales in the morning, including three that were unidentified. During this tour we extremely lucky to come across some groups of Northern Resident (fish-eating) orcas, known as

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

the I15s and A34s, as they were travelling through the area. We had a great look at a mother in one group with a very young calf. Last but not least, we saw many harbour seals hauled out on the rocks.

In the afternoon passengers on the Lukwa and the Kuluta were pleased to find that the weather was slowly

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

improving as they began their tour. We were again fortunate enough to come across the same groups of Northern Resident orcas from the morning tour (the I15s and A34s). Our onboard hydrophone was able to pick up some vocals from these giant dolphins and then they came together in a resting line. Additionally during the afternoon tour we saw harbour seals hauled out on the

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

rocks. We also saw rhinoceros auklets and common murres feeding heavily on herring while 20+ bald eagles fished the bait ball from above. In the afternoon we saw three humpback whales, two were unidentified. Suddenly a humpback whale identified as “Guardian” came up from underneath and took it all as the eagles flew away back to the trees!

Captain Geoff’s Quote of the Day:

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”—Oscar Wilde

Next Available Tours:

Monday, July 21th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Tuesday, July 22nd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Wednesday, July 22rd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

 

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Saturday, July 19th 2014 – MV Lukwa

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

This morning the Lukwa sailed out into the Johnstone Strait which was blanketed in a thick and mysterious fog.  Fortunately, the fog lifted and visibility was greatly improved as we began our quest to find wildlife. There had been reports of orca in the area this morning. With our fingers crossed, we headed in that direction to see if we would be lucky enough to see them. Thankfully we did! We happened to spot a pod of six orcas foraging and travelling in the area. Our onboard hydrophone picked up their amazing vocals the entire time we were with them. It was an amazing experience! We left the orcas and then came across a humpback whale, identified by our onboard naturalist Alison as “Black Pearl,” using the MERS humpback identification catalogue. Our guests got some good looks at the whale’s fluke and then we continued on our journey. We then saw Dall’s porpoises in the area. Suddenly as we were heading back to Telegraph Cove we were surprised to spot a Minke whale! The whale surfaced three times and we then continued on our way.

 

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Our afternoon guests were such troopers as we traveled for two hours after receiving the exciting news that a different pod of orcas had arrived in a farther location. On the way there we spotted two humpback whales that we were unable to ID and many Dall’s porpoises. We were so fortunate to find the I115’s, approximately 17 individuals, in a resting line. Our guests were so excited to come across these beautiful creatures on this rainy day. Our onboard hydrophone did not pick up any vocalizations coming from these orcas. All in all it was a great day out on the water aboard the Lukwa!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“You were kicked off a precipice when you were born and it’s no use clinging to the rocks for security on the way down.” — Alan Watts

Next Available Tours:

Sunday, July 20th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Monday, July 21st @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Tuesday, July 22nd @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

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Friday, July 18th 2014- MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

The morning trip started out wonderfully as we set out of Telegraph Cove in grey overcast skies. The weather did not dampen our spirits however because as we left we spotted a humpback whale in the distance! As we travelled in the direction of the

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

humpback whale we had the opportunity to view harbour seals and bald eagles! When we came across the humpback whale we were able to get one quick look as the whale tail fluked and then went down for a long dive. We continued on and came across a group of about twenty very active Dall’s porpoises. We then had a report of orcas not far from where we were and as we headed off in the

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

reported direction we saw a humpback whale breaching in the distance! We came across the group of orcas that was reported and we watched the group of approximately six travelling slowly along. To finish off an already fantastic morning as we headed back to Telegraph Cove we had a humpback whale lunge feed very close to us, it was an amazing end to an amazing morning!

 

 

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

This afternoon we were lucky enough to send both the MV Lukwa and the MV Kuluta out on trips, as the rain didn’t deter guests from wanting to be out on the water! As we left Telegraph Cove we had Dall’s porpoise swimming in the wake of the boat! We had to travel much further this afternoon to come across the same group of orcas that we had spotted

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

earlier in the day, however we were lucky enough to find them foraging for salmon right near our boat! We were even fortunate enough to pick up some echolocation and vocal calls on our underwater hydrophone! As we continued on we were able to find several humpbacks, one of which we saw breach a total of five times! As we headed back to Telegraph Cove we spotted harbour seals hauled out on rocks, one of which was a young pup with his mother! Just another great day here in Telegraph Cove!

 

Captain Geoff’s Quote of the Day:

“Water is the driving force of all nature” – Leonardo De Vinci

Next Available Tours:

Saturday, July 19th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Sunday, July 20th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Monday, July 21st @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, July 17th, 2014 – M.V. Lukwa

Humpback whale splash - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

Bald eagle - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

Humpback whale - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

'Black Pearl' - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

'Stripe' - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Linde and Janet from Courtenay - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Steller sea lions - Photo credit Suzanne Burns

Add wind, waves, wildlife together and you have a recipe for success! Our morning trip was a bit blustery with white caps on the water surface which added to the excitement of the trip. Marine mammals were in abundance as we cruised eastwards. Initially we saw two humpbacks in Double Bay, fluking and tail slapping. They were circling the area, possibly foraging. Quite a few Dall’s porpoises appeared in these waters and a solo Pacific white sided dolphin bombed straight towards us, then turned on it’s way. Another humpback whale was seen in Blackney Pass, giving us a brief sighting of it’s fluke.

A bald eagle was our first wild encounter on our afternoon trip. Cruising down through Weynton Passage we saw some harbour seals hauled up on the rocks. A female was relaxing in the sun, flanked by two younger seals on either side. At the Plumper Islands some more seals and eagles were seen. A couple of Steller sea lions peeped up to watch us pass by.

Just by OrcaLab in Blackfish Sound we saw two humpbacks surface and breathe within rapid succession. The first humpback surfaced and was spotted by some mischievous Dall’s porpoises. They swam rapidly towards the whale and swam over it before it descended. The whale trumpeted loudly at their intrusion, perhaps annoyed at their playful pranks.

The second whale was able to fluke peacefully and we were able to get a photo of it’s tail’s underside. Sophia, our naturalist on board was able to identify the whale as ‘Argonaut’. It transpired that the first whale was also identified as ‘Black Pearl’.

OrcaLab is run by Paul Spong and Helena Symonds. They have been monitoring the vocalizations of the whales, in particular the orca for the past 44 years. Through their work, a greater understanding of the culture and population dynamics of the ‘Blackfish’ has evolved.

In Weynton Passage, we saw two more humpbacks, one was identified as ‘Stripe’ and the other as ‘Chunky’. Stripe has been coming here consistently every year since 2002 . Chunky has been here annually since 2004. She has had her sex confirmed as she has had two calves. They were born in 2005 and 2008. Janet and Rolphe from Courtenay, travelled here today with their family, including their cousin Linde from Holland to see the whales. They were thrilled to see these two whales swim and fluke together in synchrony.

A coterie of Steller sea lions were espied on our traverse back to Telegraph Cove. Seven sea lions were hauled out on rocks in plain view, a sight for sore eyes as these animals mostly have been in the water of late.

Captain Geoff’s Quote of the day:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” - Leonardo da Vinci

Next Available Tours:

Friday, July 18th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

Saturday, July 19th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

Sunday, July 20th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

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Wednesday, July 15th, 2014 – M.V. Lukwa

Humpback whale - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

Killer whale - Photo credit - Alison Ogilvie

Killer whales - Photo credit - Alison Ogilvie

Steller sea lion - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

Humpback whale - Photo credit - Sophia Merritt

Killer whales - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Killer whales - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Whales, whales everywhere! This was how you could describe the incredible day we had on the M.V. Lukwa. We sailed down Blackney Pass bursting with anticipation. Word was out that the orca were back! We had been patiently waiting for this day and we were delighted when we first caught sight of them this morning.
A group of orca called the A42‘s appeared ahead of us to our starboard side! This family are descended from the A5 pod and are made up of five members. The mother is called ‘Sonora’ and she was born in 1980. She has four of her young with her. The oldest, born in 1996 is a male called ‘Surf’. He was joined by his siblings ‘Current’ and ‘Cameleon’ who were born in 2004 and 2008 respectively. The youngest one was born last year and is yet to be named. This family are ‘residents’ or fish eaters only and their fish of choice is chinook salmon.
As we were watching transfixed by the sight of these phenomenal pescetarians, humpbacks started to appear to our port side! One of the humpbacks which is known as ‘KC’ or Kelp Creature breached while we observed the orca! Four humpbacks were seen altogether and another was identified as ‘Guardian’ by Sophia our naturalist on board. Lots of sea birds were seen milling around the whales, attracted by the glut of food in the water. We observed five Steller sea lions in Weynton Pass, right in the kelp bed. Bald eagles swooped over the sea lions in their watery lair.
The afternoon trip was all geared up and ready to see some orca! We headed south towards Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. We got word from the reserve warden, Marie that the orca were still in the area, close to the rubbing beaches. Marie works for a voluntary organization called ‘Cetus’ that patrol the reserve and surrounding areas during the summer. They educate and advise local and incoming boaters and help protect the whales from boat strike and entanglement in props and fishing gear.
The orca did indeed reappear close to shore, east of the reserve. It was confirmed that it was the same orca family we had seen this morning. ‘Surf’ was swimming alone while the rest of his family stuck close together. They began to disperse after a while and we watched awestruck as they dipped and weaved around us.
Cruising past Cracroft Point, Blackney Pass we saw a humpback! It was suspended in the swirling water and rose and sank with grace and ease. For such an enormous creature, it could slink from view effortlessly. Alison, our naturalist identified the wily whale as ‘Argonaut’. This whale is so called as it has what looks like to be an ‘A’ notched into it’s fluke. Some speedy Dall’s porpoises appeared momentarily after Argonaut disappeared. They looked so tiny after seeing such a huge whale!
So it’s a very warm welcome back for our resident orcas. An incredible opportunity to see an orca family thriving in the wild and spending summer in our waters!

Captain Geoff’s quote of the day”
“Every man must decide for himself whether he shall master his world or be mastered by it.” James Cash Penney.

Next Available Tours:

Thursday, July 17th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Friday, July 18th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

Saturday, July 19th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

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Tuesday, July 15th 2014 – MV Lukwa

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

This morning trip we departed into thick fog conditions but we were still able to have a great trip as the fog lifted slowly. We saw 6 Steller sea lions in the water their breath suspended in the air, Harbour seals, eagles and with a low tide kelp was draped over everything making everything just that more beautiful. We had a large group of energetic Dall’s porpoises bow and wake riding as the MV Lukwa glided across the strait. We also spotted a group of 30+ Pacific white sided dolphins fishing! These dolphins were very active constantly surfacing and wake riding. As the morning continued we spotted our first humpback whale which unfortunately we were unable to identify. Even though we had bits of fog throughout the trip we were able to see lots of bald eagles and many marine birds!

 

As the MV Lukwa departed for the 1:00 pm departure the sky was clear of fog and sunshine poured down on the beautiful Johnstone Strait. Right off the bat 3 humpback whales were spotted “Conger”, “Slash” aka Humpless and unfortunately we were unable to positively identify the third humpback whale. Throughout the trip guest on board were so fortunate to see so many active Dall’s porpoises all around the MV Lukwa bow riding as well as playing in the wake! This afternoons calm seas made visibility awesome as the captain spotted 3 Steller sea lion swimming in the water each with a full salmon in each of their mouth. Another great day in the pacific fly way with Bald eagles, rhinoceros auklets and tons of gulls working on a large bait ball! It was one of those days that that rates high on the scale of senses!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“Better late than before anybody has invited you”- Ambrose Bierce

Next Available Tours:

Wednesday, July 16th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

Thursday, July 17th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

Friday, July 18th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

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Monday, July 14th 2014 – MV Lukwa

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Photo Credit - Kyle Howard

Today our morning tour started out in a little bit of fog but we were able to find clearings where we were able to see and right away we saw about 6 Steller Sea Lion rolling in the current. Guests on board could see the Steller sea lions warm breath floating in the cold air and hear their roars coming from above the water. With today’s very low tide we had the chance to see about 20 harbour seals hauled out on the rocks and kelp beds. As we turned the MV Lukwa off to the view the harbour seals, eagle calls were heard by everyone on board in the midst of the fog. We proceeded through the light mist into blackfish sound where the fog immediately opened up to three humpback whales. Our onboard biologist identified these humpbacks as “Black Pearl”, “Guardian” and “Conger”. Lots of great tail fluke pictures were snapped by everyone on board! Hundreds and hundreds of Rhinoceros Auklets, lots of Common Murres, a black tail buck deer with horns still in velvet were also spotted on this morning trip!

This afternoon’s trip excitement started within minutes of leaving Telegraph Cove into Johnstone strait where everyone on board was amazed by the amount of salmon jumping out of the water! The water was alive everywhere you looked, our captain believed they were pink salmon! Then as the MV Lukwa crossed into Weyton pass we observed lots of Dall’s porpoises surfacing all across the pass. All of a sudden a blow was heard break the surface of the water, as everyone on board turned to see “Argonaut” surface. “Argonaut” fluked over and over again giving everyone on board a great photo opportunity with the beautiful scenery in behind as well as the fog wall drifting away. Shortly after we spotted 6 Steller Sea lions playing in the tide rips, 100’s of rhinoceros auklets, some bald eagles, Dall’s porpoises everywhere and lots of Pacific harbour seals and to top this already great day off we had brilliant sunshine, calm seas and the beautiful ocean with its tidal rips, whirl pools and then we saw just one more humpback whale! Just a wonderful day in all and especially when everyone here at Stubbs Island Whale Watching day was made with a guest from Germany who drove all the way here from Victoria (6 hrs) and was headed back to Victoria shortly after the tour said it was well worth the drive!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“Even if a farmer intends to loaf he gets up in time to get an early start”- Edgar W. Howe

Next Available Tours:

Monday, July 14th @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Tuesday, July 15th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Wednesday, July 16th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm and 5:30pm

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Sunday, July 13th, 2014 – M.V. Lukwa

Dall's porpoise - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Bald eagle - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Gulls - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Bald eagle - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Steller sea lion - Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Photo credit - Suzanne Burns

Mist rolled over the mountains this morning like dragon’s breath as we cruised out of Telegraph Cove.  Within minutes of our trip we saw our first blow of a humpback whale while watching several mature and immature bald eagles. We were able to identify the two humpbacks with the help of our on board naturalist, Kyle who referenced the MERS Humpback ID catalog (www.mersociety.org).

The first whale identified was ‘Argonaut’ and the other was ‘Slits’. Argonaut is so named as it has what looks like a capital ‘A’ etched into the left underside of it’s fluke. Slits is a newcomer on the scene, having been first spotted last year. Both whales appeared to be ‘logging’ i.e. spending lots of surface time resting and short dives of 6-8 minutes.

At times Dall’s porpoises were all over the whales, leaping around them! The Dall’s porpoises were numerous and very active bow and wake riding the boat. It was quite the sight!

Rhinoceros auklets and murres were some of the other alluring avians we saw today. We even saw a small black tailed deer feeding high on the edge of a cliff!

Our afternoon sailing was a glorious combination of moody fog and brilliant sunshine with the animals providing us with tantalising glimpses into their worlds. Dall’s porpoises were repeat offenders and came along wake riding the Lukwa. The mist rolled in again and we initially tried to find ‘whales by braille’. By this, we took our time and listened carefully to the characteristic resonant sound the humpbacks make when they breathe on the surface.

The fog, thankfully, was not meant to be. We made our way towards the ever increasing blue and entered Blackney Pass. The water whirled and fumed as we sailed through, churning up all sorts of small creatures in it’s fury. Two whales were found to be capitalizing on this bounty, feeding furiously in the maelstrom. The two seen were identified by Sophia our naturalist as ‘KC’ and ‘Guardian’. KC  had been spotted approx.40km south yesterday so it made it all the more special to see this whale. We spent an hour here watching these behemoths weave their way through this whirlpool. An unexpected guest also joined the goodness and happened to be a minke whale which is known as ‘Bolt’. Bolt has been seen in this area since 2000.

Our guests were thrilled to see such a prolonged and wonderful sight of these whales feeding and diving. One couple called Phil and Tania from Gloucester, England fulfilled their dreams by seeing these gentle giants wild and free. Glaucous winged gulls, young and older sat and flew over the riffled water, unperturbed by all the activity around them.

At Weynton Island, a couple of harbour seals were precariously balanced on rocks. As we made our way back towards home, the wildlife kicked off in earnest!  Two Steller sea lions roared in the kelp, as some beautiful bald eagles flew above them. Two more humpbacks appeared close by, providing us with ample opportunities to observe and photograph them. Slits was one of the two seen again. We wrapped up our trip with a glorious cruise back to port. Life is good!

Captain Wayne’s quote of the day:

‘‘Don’t put a wishbone where your backbone should be’’ Clementine Paddleford

Next Available Tours:

Monday, July 14th @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Tuesday, July 15th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

Wednesday, July 16th @ 9:00am, 1:00pm & 5:30pm

 

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