Humpback Whale Soup!

Monday, August 13, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Humpback Whale feeding on small schooling herring in a bait ball!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Merge, Bumpy, Claw, Ripple, Obsidian, Slash, Hunter, Freckles, Ridge, Inukshuk, Conger, Quartz, Stitch, Pisa and unidentified), Fish-eating Orcas (A25 and A30 matrilines), a Minke Whale, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, River Otters, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemonts, Belted Kingfishers, and Northern Phalaropes.

It was a beautiful calm morning out on the water and the low tide meant that there were lots of Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks for us to see with Steller’s Sea Lions swimming around them. We even spotted Sea Stars! As the day progressed we were surrounded by Humpback Whales on all sides who were feeding on the tiny schooling fish that the sea birds were diving for in huge numbers. What a thrill! Ripple and her calf became quite active, breaching and tail-lobbing respectively. Pisa also tail-lobbed. The evening brought the Orcas back. The A25 matriline of Fish-eating Orcas were seen travelling up Johnstone Strait all the way up to Telegraph Cove! The activity never ends!

Beautiful lighting in the Johnstone Strait this morning

Argonaut and Merge the Humpback Whales swim side by side.

Claw the Humpback Whale shows her rostrum as she feeds.

An amazing look at Pisa the Humpback Whale’s tail, as he/she tail-lobs.

A sight we don’t often get to see: Sea Stars! The amazing tides we had to day brought some intertidal species into view.

Look at those faces! Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out in the low tide.

A mature Bald Eagle surveys the area perched atop a tree.

Pacific White-sided Dolphins speed by as they do some foraging.

We get a great look at A61 – Surge as he passes by in the setting evening sun.

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Allison Parker, Ashley Nielsen, and Chloe Warren. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

 

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Sunday Snack Day!

Sunday, August 12, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Lunge feed! This Humpback Whale engulfs an entire bait ball (and nearly a gull as well!)

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Conger, Bumpy, Claw, Ripple, Obsidian, Inukshuk, Stitch, Quartz, Squiggle, Pisa and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A30 and A25 Matrilines), Sea Otter, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Belted Kingfishers, Northern Phalaropes.

Humpback Whales were incredible to watch today (as always)! Inukshuk the Humpback Whale slapped his/her pectoral fins repeatedly against the surface of the water. Meanwhile, Claw and Bumpy the Humpback Whales fed on a bait ball just below the surface of the water, coming up for massive mouthfuls of fish (likely juvenile herring). We were also lucky to see Northern Resident Killer Whales (matrilines A30 and A25) foraging in a riptide and being jumped on by Pacific White-Sided Dolphins! A Sea Otter was also sighted rolling in a kelp bed and feeding on a crab. 

Sea Otter eating a crab!

Orca foraging in Johnstone Strait.

Naturalist Chloe spotting wildlife.

Can you spot the Pacific White-Sided Dolphin?

Salmon eating Killer Whale being harassed by a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out during a extra low tide today

Beautiful Bald Eagle perched atop a rocky islet.

The fantastic fluke of a Humpback Whale as they dive beneath the surface of the water

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin leaping out of the rip tide!

Two fish-eating Killer Whales swimming along in Johnstone Strait

Rhinoceros Auklets diving down below the surface in search of fish

Captain Wayne deploying the hydrophone so we can listen to the calls of the Orca.

The A30 and A25 matrilines of Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas surface in Weynton pass, in this beautiful, peaceful evening.

Look at the size difference! Quartz the Humpback Whale surfaces at the same time as a Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

Photo Credits: Alex McDonald, Allison Parker, Chloe Warren and Carmen Pendleton. Photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Saturday, August 11, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

What’s going on up there? An active Obsidian head lobs beside their mother, Ripple the Humpback Whale

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Black Pearl, Claw, Ripple, Obsidian, Slash, Inukshuk and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42, A25 and A34 Matrilines), Dall’s Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Northern River Otter, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Belted Kingfishers, Northern Phalaropes.

Today the wildlife action was better than anything in the movies! All natural, unscripted action that is! We started the morning watching multiple matrilines of Northern Resident Orcas travel in a resting line. We also spotted so many Humpback Whales out there today that we lost count of just how many we saw! Noteworthy sightings include Ripple and her Calf, Obsidian as they lunge fed and then became very active, even breaching right out of the water! If only we could rewind and re-watch today over and over!

A juvenile Bald Eagle stretches some incredible wings out wide

Black Pearl the Humpback Whale

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks

Lunge feed! Ripple and her new calf Obsidian feed just under the surface of the water, likely on juvenile herring

Northern Resident Orcas travel in a resting line

A rare photo to capture today, the elusive Harbour Porpoise!

A juvenile Bald Eagle surveys the water from a tree

Claw the Humpback Whale

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton, Alex McDonald, Ashley Nielsen, and Allison Parker. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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Flukes, Fins, and Feathers!

Friday, August 10, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

Mystical Scenery in Johnstone Strait.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Stitch, Black Pearl, Quartz, Freckles and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A34 matriline), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Northern River Otter, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Belted Kingfishers, Northern Phalaropes, and Gulls.

This morning the Plumper Islands were covered in light fog leading many of our guests to comment on the mystical scenery. With Orcas, Humpback Whales, and many other animals we couldn’t have wished for a better day!

Pacific Harbour Seal sunning on the rocks.

Spectacular Scenery (and a Killer Whale).

Pacific Harbour Seals and Gulls hauled out on a small reef.

Common Murre, superstar of the diving birds.

Bull Kelp being pulled by the strong current.

Going for a dive!

A mature Bald Eagle watching over the Plumper Islands.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale.

A member of the Northern Resident (Fish-eating) population of Killer Whales.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton, Alex McDonald, Ashley Nielsen, and Allison Parker.

Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Wonderful Whales

Thursday, August 9, 2018 – M.V. Sea Legend and M.V. Lukwa

Claw the Humpback Whale arcs his/her back before going down for a deeper dive.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Hook, Claw, Pisa, Freckles, Ripple, Obsidian and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A34 matriline), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Sea Otter, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Belted Kingfishers, and Northern Phalaropes.

A wall of fog surrounded Telegraph Cove this early morning, but just beyond the mouth of the cove, blues skies and flat seas awaited us, making for a beautiful day on the water. We ventured out in this incredible area and soon found some Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out in the low tide, sunning themselves, while both juvenile and mature Bald Eagles decorated the tree tops. Several Humpback Whales were seen in the area, and one even became quite active, tail-lobbing and breaching. That Humpback Whale wasn’t the only one making a splash: a group of Steller Sea Lions were seen snacking on a fish, surrounded by seagulls trying to catch some scraps. A small group of Dall’s Porpoises chose to ride the bow of the Lukwa for a moment. Pacific White-sided Dolphins were seen the area, as well as their big cousins, the Orcas! Different matrilines of Fish-eating Orcas filled the area as the day went on, including the A34 matriline. A rarer sighting closed off this wonderful day: a Sea Otter!

A member of the A34 matriline of Fish-eating Orca surfaces in the calm waters of Johnstone Strait.

A55, a member of the A34 matriline of Fish-eating Orcas, is a beautiful example of a mature male. He is 28 year-old!

A beautiful look at the fluke of Hook, a Humpback Whale. The pigmentation and shape of the trailing edge of each Humpback Whale allows us to identify them as individuals,

Watch out! This Steller Sea Lion has his mouth open, and what a mouth! Mature male Steller Sea Lions can be bigger than Grizzly Bears.

A group of Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out in the sun, surrounded by Bull Kelp.

One last look at the Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas on our evening tour!

With sunsets like these, how are you not coming out on an evening tour with us !?

Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Ashley Nielsen, and Alex McDonald. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Touched by Sunlight

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – M.V. Eagle 48 and M.V. Lukwa

A72 (Bend) and her 4 year-old child surface together. Both are members of the A30 matriline of Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ridge, Hook, Ojos Blancos, and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42 and A30 matrilines), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Sea Otter, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Black Oystercatchers, Belted Kingfishers, and Northern Phalaropes.

The sun shone down on us today, warming us up despite the cold air. Ribbons of fog persisted throughout the day, making for a true West Coast atmosphere. As we travelled through different pockets of visibility, we came across all sorts of different species: Ridge the Humpback Whale started us off, travelling slowly in the morning fog. Two families of Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas, the A42 and the A30 matrilines, travelled up Johnstone Strait, being vocal at times, while Hook and other Humpback Whales were seen in Blackfish Sound. Dall’s Porpoises and Pacific White-sided Dolphins flashed their backs throughout the area. Mature Bald Eagles were perched in trees and diving down to catch fish, while Steller Sea Lions thermoregulated by sticking their fins in the air through the islands. Pacific Harbour Seals, including young pups, were seen enjoying the sun just as much as us, hauled out on the rocks. A particular highlight was spotting a Sea Otter, very rare to see here, drifting past an island laden with Seals, Gulls, and Black Oystercatchers. It was a beautiful, peaceful day.

Pacific Harbour Seals enjoying the sun just as much as us.

What’s this strange shape sticking out of the water? A group of Steller Sea Lions were drifting through the island, their flippers up in the air to regulate their body temperature.

Pictured here is A66, or Surf, the oldest living child of A42 (Sonora), the matriarch of the A42 matriline of Fish-eating Orca. At 22 year-old he is a mature male, and a big dolphin!

Hook the Humpback Whale flukes just before the edge of the fog.

Three Pacific White-sided Dolphins show more than just their back as they surge out of the water.

Two mature Bald Eagles are perched in this tree, can you spot them?

The sunshine creates a pocket of visibility allowing us to admire the mountains of the Vancouver Island shoreline.

Ridge the Humpback Whale exhales along the Hanson island shoreline.

A Dall’s Porpoise surfaces, looking very much like a rolling black square out on the water!

Guests enjoy the sun and the scenery as we wait for a Humpback Whale to surface.

Is that..that’s a Sea Otter! Drifting in front of so much more wildlife.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin nearly lands on top of an Orca of the A30 matriline to harass it.

 

Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Johanna Ferrie, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

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Terrific Tuesday Tours!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 – M.V. Kuluta and M.V. Lukwa

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins swam leisurely by us!

Today’s Sightings:Humpback Whales (Stitch, Ripple and her calf Obsidian, Argonaut, Freckles, Hunter, Bumpy, Quartz, and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42 and A30 matrilines), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, and Northern Phalaropes.

What a gorgeous day out on the water today! The early morning fog burned off quickly in the hot sunshine and we got some beautiful views of the A30 and A42 Northern Resident Killer Whale matrilines in the calm and glittering waters of the Johnstone Strait. There were also Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins and Dall’s Porpoise’s swimming by us as we cruised along between the islands. To top it all off we got some good looks at a number of Humpback Whales including Ripple and her calf Obsidian, Stitch and Hunter travelling together. Bumpy was also sighted for the first time this season, and what a sight! He/she was lunge-feeding, surrounded by hundreds of seabirds. 

A42 matriline of Orcas with breath caught in the sunlight.

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on a rock.

Male Orca  A66 (Surf)swimming along the Johnstone Strait.

Three Humpback Whales in the foggy morning light.

A mature Bald Eagle perched atop a rock.

Humpback Whales, Hunter, Ripple, and her calf Obsidian, fluke in tandem.

A member of the A30 matriline of Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas breaches.

Dall’s Porpoises surface in the tide rip.

Bumpy, a Humpback Whale, lunge-feeds surrounded by seabirds.

Photo credits: Johanna Ferrie, Chloe Warren, Ashley Nielsen, and Allison Parker. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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The Dramatic (Fog) Curtain Lifts…

Monday, August 6, 2018 – M.V. Kuluta and M.V. Lukwa

The curtain lifts, revealing the amazing scenery that we are fortunate enough to call home.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Stitch, Argonaut, Freckles, Hook, and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42 and A30 matrilines), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, and Northern Phalaropes.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin porpoising!

Today began with a sense of wonder as we headed out into dense fog. Islands seemed to appear from nowhere! Bald Eagles and Pacific Harbour Seals could be seen serenely lining these small islands. Great looks and listens to wildlife continued throughout the day. Massive blows from whales could be heard through the fog, then it began to lift and blue sky engulfed us! We were fortunate enough to see Stitch still travelling with another Humpback Whale, unknown. Cetacean sightings also included a look at a huge resting line of the A30 & A42 matriline of Fish-eating Orca. The Dall’s Porpoise’s and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins also gave us a thrill as they flew the water as they passed us by. We saw the same Fish-eating Orca later in the day as well as an active, tail-lobbing Argonaut the Humpback Whale! 

Freckles the Humpback Whale exhales into the clear air.

The sun is coming, and this Bald Eagle hangs its wings to dry them as the sun dries the fog.

The water seems to boil as nearly 100 Pacific White-sided Dolphins speed down Johnstone Strait!

Two Fish-eating Orca spyhop, one partially obscured by Bend (A72) of the A30 matriline.

The strong Pacific Currents flood around this small Pacific Harbour Seal.

Humpback duet! Stitch and another Humpback Whale surface in unison.

A Steller Sea Lion porpoises out of the water!

A large male Steller Sea Lion hauled out on Stubbs Island!

Argonaut the Humpback Whale flashes a fantastic fluke as he heads for a deep dive

A member of the A42 Matriline of Fish-eating Orca slaps their tail against the surface of the water in the setting sunlight

Photo credits: Johanna Ferrie, Chloe Warren, Alex McDonald, and Allison Parker. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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Whale, Would You Look at That! We Can Bear-ly Believe it

Sunday, August 5, 2018 – M.V. Kuluta and M.V. Lukwa

Argonaut and Hook the Humpback Whales interacting close to the shoreline

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Muppet, Hook, Freckles and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42 and A30 matrilines), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, and Northern Phalaropes.

We followed the recipe for fun this morning, even though someone poured a little too much fog in at the beginning! As the fog lifted, so did our excitement levels. We watched the A30 and A42 Matrilines of Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca travel along in a resting line in the sunshine this morning. In the afternoon, Humpback Whale sightings were incredible. Argonaut and Hook the Humpback Whales were interacting which ended with Argonaut leaping right out of the water! Also spotted in the area were Freckles and Muppet the Humpback Whales. Dall’s Porpoises were active, spread out all across the horizon today and occasionally choosing to come closer, allowed us a great look at their small black and white bodies. A double surprise came big and small, with a black bear on the shore of an island clambering over logs and digging in the rocks, and a We’ll take double servings of days like today please!

Stunning scenery this morning in the mist!

A Pacific Harbour Seal manages to haul itself out onto a tight bundle of Bull Kelp.

Welcome back Hook the Humpback Whale to this area! Can you guess where the name came from!?

A Black Bear paws at rocks, likely looking for any tasty morsels such as crabs or mussels.

The A42 Matriline of Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca rest in a line in front of OrcaLab researchers!

Bottoms up! A Rhinoceros Auklet dives down under the water.

Muppet the Humpback Whale also spotted today in this area for the first time this summer!

Five Bald Eagles swoop down to scoop up some fish from a fantastic bait ball.

A feeding frenzy witnessed by guests on board the Lukwa, lined by the Coastal Mountains!

Breach! Argonaut the Humpback Whale gets airborne today.

Spot the “odd one out”? There’s a Curlew in the middle!

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Johanna Ferrie, Carmen Pendleton, Chloe Warren, and Andrew Mitchell. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

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Surprising Saturday!

Saturday, August 4, 2018 – M.V. Kuluta and M.V. Lukwa

A rare sighting this morning! A Sea Otter drifts nearby a kelp reef.

Today’s Sightings: Sea Otter, Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Hunter, Stitch, Ripple, Obsidian (Ripple’s Calf), Quartz, and unidentified), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A42 and A30 matrilines), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Northern Phalaropes, and Belted Kingfishers.

Our crew always say they love this job because they never know what they will see and that was definitely the case today. We were surprised today by Sea Otter floating on its back in a kelp patch. Sea Otters were extirpated from the coast of British Columbia and are just starting to return to this area. A large group of acrobatic Pacific White-sided Dolphins, a Humpback Whale breaching, and highly vocal Orcas made this a day to remember!

A Humpback Whale leaping for the sky!

An unbelievable amount of birds feeding on a bait ball of small schooling fish this morning.

Flying fish! A juvenile Bald Eagle grabs a talon-ful of Herring as it flies by.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin speeds by.

Perfect whale-watching conditions with sunny weather glassy calm waters.

A Humpback Whale flukes with Orcalab in the background.

A mature Bald Eagle looks on in the shadows.

A great look of the mature male Surf (A66) of the A42 matriline.

Two Humpback Whales, one known as Stitch (a calf in 2013) and an unknown whale, surface directly in the beam of the sinking sun.

An American Crow feasts on a Bald Eagle’s leftovers.

A Dall’s Porpoise splashes a magnificent spray as it speeds along.

A Pacific Harbour Seal travels up a gloriously green channel between islands.

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Johanna Ferrie, Carmen Pendleton, and Ashley Nielsen. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

 

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