Saturday 30th August, M.V. Lukwa

Orca - photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Orca - photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Orca - photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Orca - photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale- photo credit -Suzanne Burns

‘’A virtual feast for your eyeballs!’’ is what Captain Wayne exclaimed today and boy was it?!

Our resident orcas and humpbacks provided us with mind blowing experiences on both our morning and afternoon trips. Clear weather gave us lovely views of the orcas this morning. A30’s and A42’S babies were playing in Johnstone Strait . The excited whales spy hopped and tail slapped to our delight.  The A23’s and A25’s were also seen transiting the area.

The weather and the animals changed as we approached Bold Head. The mist rolled in and we began to see some bait balls ahead of us.  Humpbacks could be seen in the gloom lunge feeding. A couple of the whales hit the bait ball simultaneously. We recognized two of them as Ripple feeding with her calf. In the distance we could hear another whale trumpeting and the thunder clap of a breaching whale.

The charismatic Steller sea lions were seen swimming in the kelp. Six of them eyed us as we passed by and gave us a gruff salutation as we continued on our way. It was great to see so many different species of babies this morning and we were lucky to see a Dall’s porpoise with her wee one as we went towards Telegraph Cove.

This afternoon we cruised out to Blackfish Sound. A couple of humpbacks swam off to our port side and descended rapidly to their watery lair. As we passed through Blackfish Sound the A30’s reappeared ahead of us. Whether they were fishing or simply goofing around, we spent the next half hour enthralled with this phenomenal family. The whales sped through the water, tail lobbing and spy hopping. Occasionally they would rest in a line before something would fire them up again and more high jInks would occur.

We were sated from our encounters with the orca but thought it would be even more fun to go and see if some more humpbacks were about. Our wish came true faster than anticipated with six humpbacks surrounding us on all sides! Ripple and her calf were feeding in a bait ball and in the distance there were signs of more activity. A large flock of birds drew us further along and in the milieu we realized a feeding frenzy was rapidly unfolding. Not one, not two, but five humpbacks were vying for space in this glut of food. The whales lunged at the fish and over each other in their attempts to gulp down as much fishy goodness as possible.

The whales appeared to be frustrated with their neighbours and some trumpeted and exhaled forcefully while pushing past. One whale made an even stranger sound which almost was akin to a snarl. We were ecstatic to see these gargantuan gluttons feasting on the fish.

We left the whales to their banquet and started towards home. In the distance a lone humpback was doing some spectacular tail lobbing in rapid succession. The whale did vertical tail lobs over 20 times and smashed the water forcefully on each attempt. We watched awestruck as it made mincemeat of the water around it. This forceful fluker was identified as Yahtsee by our staff and guests together.

Our eyeballs were well stuffed on our way home!

 

 

Captain Wayne’s quote (saying) of the day:

I’ll never forget old what’s his name?

Next Available Tour:

Sunday, August 31st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Monday, August 31st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Tuesday, September 1st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

 

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Friday, August 29th 2014- MV Lukwa

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

The morning started out with some long overdue rain in Telegraph Cove and also great reports of orcas! We came across the A30’s and the A42’s that were spread out amongst the area. The group was foraging and we used our underwater hydrophone to pick up on some great echolocation. We also witnessed some very playful behavior of spy hopping and tail slapping, pair that

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

with the great vocals and you got yourself a great morning! We had some great looks at the whales as the group didn’t move for quite some time, however we decided that we would continue on and see what else the morning would bring us. And wouldn’t you know it we spotted three humpback whales! We were able to ID the whales as “Inukshuk”, “Guardian” and “Yatze”.

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

“Yatze” was bubble netting and has never been seen doing this behavior before! It was a fantastic morning with harbour seals, Dall’s porpoise and many marine birds!

The afternoon continued to be amazing, the weather changed to reveal calm seas and cool overcast but oh boy the wildlife was simply stunning! We had the A30’s

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

and the A42’s a total of 17 orcas spy hopping and doing tail lobs and pectoral slaps all tied in with some great vocals picked up by the underwater hydrophone! The afternoon continued to be abundant with a total of nine humpback whales with everything from lunge feeding with three to four humpbacks all hitting the same bait ball! At the same time there was amazing tail

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

fluke activity! And to quote our captain “Mother Nature was very kind very kind”!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her”- William Wordsmith

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Next Available Tour:

Saturday, August 30th @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Sunday, August 31st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit: Alison Ogilvie

Monday, September 1st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

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Thursday, August 28th 2014 – MV Lukwa and Kuluta

Photo Credit - Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit - Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit - Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit - Alison Ogilvie

Photo Credit - Alison Ogilvie

Within minutes of leaving Telegraph Cove this morning we found the A30, A23 & A25 matrilines of ‘resident’ (fish eating) orca. Guests were excited to sight these magnificent whales so early in the tour! We were able to watch all of the females, juveniles and calves as they formed a large resting line. When we lowered our hydrophone into the calm waters we were even able to hear some great vocals. Despite being in a ‘resting’ line the whales were being quite active; spy hopping, pec slapping and tail slapping were some of the behaviors observed. Next we had a look at the males who were spread out far apart from the main group, and there were even a couple of Pacific white-sided dolphins with these whales as well.

After watching the orca for a while, the search for humpback whales was on! The first humpback whale we encountered was ‘Inukshuk’ who was rolling around in a kelp bed waving his pectoral fins. Inukshuk gave everyone aboard some great photo opportunities as he rolled in the kelp, and just before we left him he gave one big tail slap which sent spray everywhere! ‘Argonaut’ the humpback whale was then sighted, along with a few other of our favorite massive baleen whales which we were unable to identify. Dall’s porpoise, Steller sea lions and bald eagles maxed out a terrific morning on the water!

This afternoon we had to travel further to find the orca, but we were fortunate to find the A23′s & A25′s near the Robson Bight (Dr. Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve. This time we had a few faint calls heard on the hydrophone, but there was lots of echolocation to listen to! We were then fortunate to have enough time after viewing the orca to find 2 humpback whales, which we identified as ‘Inukshuk’ and ‘Argonaut’, who were foraging for food in a good flood tide. Dall’s porpoise, Steller sea lions and harbour seals were also sighted on this beautiful afternoon. We even saw a young bald eagle near it’s nest!

We’re convinced, this IS paradise!

Captain Geoff’s Quote of the Day:

“To win with out risk is to triumph without glory.” – Pierre Corneille

Next Available Tour:

Friday, August 29th @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Saturday, August 30th @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

Sunday, August 31st @ 9:00am & 1:00pm

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Wednesday, August 27th 2014 – MV Lukwa and Kuluta

Photo Credit - Alison

Photo Credit - Alison

Photo Credit - Alison

Photo Credit - Alison

Photo Credit - Alison

Photo Credit - Sophia

Photo Credit - Sophia

Photo Credit - Sophia

Photo Credit - Sophia

This morning had a slow start with the fog holding up a thick front just outside of Telegraph cove in the Johnstone straits but it was still no challenge for us as we managed to find a humpback whale “Gemini”. Everyone on board was incredibly lucky to watch this magnificent marine mammal bubble net more than 5 times!! Bubble netting is a tactic employed by the Humpbacks to get small schooling fish to concentrate when birds and tides don’t make this happen. This feeding tactic does not often happen in the study area for Marine Education Research Society so guests on board as well as two biologist we have on board were beyond amazed with this activity. Throughout the morning we also had Pacific White Sided Dolphins playing at the bow of the MV Lukwa and MV Kuluta, Dall’s porpoises scattered across the horizon, Steller sea lions perched on a few large rocks, and harbour seals hauled out on the rocks!

As we ventured out again for the 1:00pm departure with both boats fully loaded with passengers the fog was beginning to clear, the sun was starting to shine and reports of orcas in the area flooded over the VHF radio! We kicked off the with a great view of “InukshuK” as this humpback whale continued to lunge feed then all of a sudden made a full breach out of the water! After all this humpback excitement we headed to take a look at the A30 killer whales that were spread out foraging, there were great vocals bursting over our hydrophones as soon as we dropped down our under water microphones even though these whales were being mobbed by pacific white sided dolphins! Towards the end of our trip we also viewed a few Steller sea lions and a couple more humpback whales!

 

The pacific fly way was nothing but spectacular all day today with 100’s of Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Northern phalaropes, over a dozen bald eagles and a few belted kingfishers!

 

 

Captain Geoff’s Quote of the Day:

 

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true” – APJ. Abdul Kalam

 

Next Available Tour:

Thursday, August 28th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Friday, August 29th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Saturday, August 30th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

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Monday, August 25th, 2014 – MV Lukwa

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

It was another grand day on the water near historic Telegraph Cove. It made for a great example of how amazing this part of the world is for viewing wildlife when our morning tour on the Lukwa came across orcas within ten minutes of leaving the Cove. They were from the A30 family and we were really fortunate enough to get some great looks as dolphins were all over the over the

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

orcas. The action peaked as we had Dall’s porpoises approach us and ride the bow and wake of the Lukwa as we travelled to our next destination. During this tour we also spotted humpback whales. One was identified by our onboard naturalist, Kyle, as “Inukshuk” using the MERS humpback whale identification catalogue. There was another humpback whale seen during the morning tour that we weren’t able to identify. To top it all off we came across a large Steller sea lion hauled out on the rocks and many sea birds such as rhinoceros auklets, northern phalaropes, common murres, storm petrels and bald eagles. It was a superb morning with calm waters and the warmth of the sun.

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

In the afternoon we ended up going down the Straits to the Robson Bight-Michael Bigg Ecological Reserve. This reserve is critical habitat for the Northern Resident orcas and a place where they like to come and rub on the rocky beaches. It is also a place set aside for these animals where, thankfully, boats are not allowed to enter. The A30s were there at the rubbing beaches and

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

eventually A38 or “Blackney” ventured out of the reserve boundary line did some fishing. We were able to get some great looks while the rest of A30s stayed inside the reserve, observable at a distance. During the tour we also came across many active Dall’s porpoise who rode the bow and wake of the Lukwa as we went by. As we proceeded up the Straits we came across a humpback whale lunge feeding. This whale was identified by our onboard naturalist, Sophia, as “Ridge.” To round out the trip we saw pacific white-sided dolphins and another unidentified humpback whale lunge feeding.

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“It’s like magic – when you live by yourself, all your annoying habits are gone” – Merrill Markok

Next Available Tour:

Tuesday, August 26th @ 1:00pm

Wednesday, August 27th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Thursday, August 28th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

 

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Sunday, August 24st, 2014 – MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

We will gladly brag about the absolutely amazing weather that we have been having this past week… and today was no exception! In addition to beautiful, sunny and warm skies the wildlife was out in full force today. We had an amazing day out on the water, there is no doubt about that! The orca and humpback whale activity has been extraordinary and we were so fortunate

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

to be in the presence of these amazing creatures today. Orcas were spread all throughout the Straits and they were feeding and gathering up in family group behaviours such as logging. Logging is where orcas rest at the surface of the water. We saw tail slaps, spy hops and even breaches! Captain Wayne was thrilled to see “peek-a-boo” looks from the youngster orcas.

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Additionally we saw dolphins targeting the whales for either harassment or play, which was an amazing sight to see. We were fortunate enough to see humpback whales lunge feeding as well. Lunge feeding is a method where a humpback will come up from under schooling fish and engulf the whole group in its large mouth. There was also lots of tail fluking so we were able to identify

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

humpback whales such as “Inukshuk” and “Ridge.” To top it all off we came across Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks, Dall’s porpoises, lots of marine birds such as rhinocerous auklets, Northern phalaropes and common murres with their young everywhere. Other birds included eagles and belted kingfishers as we worked our way through some beautiful islands, narrow channels and kelp forests.

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“The future is called perhaps the only possible thing to call the future” – Tennessee Williams

Next Available Tour:

Monday, August 25th @ 1:00pm

Tuesday, August 26th @ 1:00pm

Wednesday, August 27th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

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Saturday, August 23rd 2014- MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Can you believe this incredible stretch of weather we’ve been having?  And would you believe that we just keep having amazing sightings of orcas, humpbacks and many other amazing marine wildlife? Well believe it! Our morning trip spotted three matrilines of orcas from the A25’s to the A42’s to the A23’s! We spotted over fourteen orcas in total! Our luck continued as we came acrossfour humpback whales with one whale

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

lunge feeding! We were able to identify two of the humpbacks as “Ridge” and “Argonaut”! And we can’t forget to mention the amazing marine bird sightings that we had today from the hundreds of rhinoceros auklets, common murres, and what could have been thousands northern phalaropes! We also spotted many fork tail storm petrels! The morning also brought us sightings of

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

six Steller sea lions, eight harbour seals and brief sightings of lots of Dall’s porpoise!

The afternoon continued on to be a beauty with twenty orcas from the I15 matriline all in a line traveling slowly with the sun glistening off their dorsal fins and backs with their blows suspended in the air creating a most

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

picturesque setting! The afternoon continued to deliver with at least eight humpback whales that were doing long surface dives and we were only able to ID one as “Conger”. We were also fortunate enough to see some lunge feeding from the humpbacks as well as two large Steller sea lions hauled out! All this wonderful activity and warm weather making for a t-shirt day! It

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

doesn’t get much better than this folks!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through course of hours”- Thomas Mann

Next Available Tour:

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Sunday, August 24th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Monday, August 25th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Tuesday, August 26th @ 9:00am and

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

Photo Credit: Kyle Howard

1:00pm

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Friday, August 22nd 2014- MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

What a great way to start the day with super calm waters, sunny skies and warm weather! These are superb conditions for a great day of whale watching. The morning activity was amazing with approximately 32 Orcas from two different family groups all travelling together in lines; it was quite a sight to see! We continued along and we were joined by bow riding Dall’s

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

porpoise. We then came across four humpback whales doing long deep dives and we were able to ID one of the humpbacks as “Ridge”! As we made our way through the islands and passed coastlines where we spotted over thirty harbour seals hauled out on rocks enjoying the morning sun with six Steller sea lions! The morning also brought us an abundance of marine birds such as

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

common murres, Northern phalaropes, and rhinoceros auklets!

In the afternoon the whales had worked their way east into the Michael Biggs Robson Bight Ecological Reserve where we did get a glimpse of the orcas that were deep into the reserve. As we continued on however we did come across the A42’s that we exiting the

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

reserve and were westing along with one of the A36’s! We got some great looks but these whales were moving between 5 and 6 knots to the west so we moved along. The afternoon also blessed us with three humpback sightings! We were able to identify the one humpback as “Ridge” again and the others we weren’t able to get an ID for! Once again we saw lots of harbour seals six Steller sea lions with

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

one massive Steller hauled out on the rocks. We were also fortunate enough to see both mature and immature bald eagles! We also spotted one lone Pacific white-sided dolphin and a humpback whale breach out in the distance to cap off another fantastic day!

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

“He knows not his own strength who hath not met adversity”- Samuel Johnson

Next Available Tour:

Saturday, August 23rd @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

Sunday, August 24th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Monday, August 25th @ 9:00am and

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit: Sophia Merritt

1:00pm

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Thursday 21st August, M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Klutz

Orca -Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

Pacific white-sided dolphin - Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

Orca and Pacific white-sided dolphin -Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

Pacific white-sided dolphin -Photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Pacific white-sided dolphin -Photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Humpback whale -Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

Orca -Photo credit -Suzanne Burns

Steller sea lion -Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

Bald eagle -Photo credit -Alison Ogilvie

You could say (particularly in these parts) that orca make a morning! An orca jam greeted us as we cruised out of the Cove. The pod in our midst was the A30’s that have been hanging around the vicinity for the past couple of days. The whales swam west to Beaver Cove and we observed them foraging for salmon, They then continued down towards Blackney Pass.

A  rare dramatic event unfolded near Port Hardy when word came out on the radio that an orca was caught in a gill net. The orca is part of the pod the I15’s which is composed of approximately 18 whales! This morning one of their pod members became entangled. The fisherman involved attempted to free the orca and luckily was successful before more intervention was required. We are delighted and relieved that the orca is safe once again with its family. Anyone seeing a whale or marine mammal entangled in lines or netting should immediately contact the Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

This afternoon we sailed west down Johnstone Strait and it was Cetacean Central!! A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins were transiting west and they started to bow ride as we chugged along. Their smaller cousins, the Dall’s porpoises were a bit more elusive  but gave us a brief appearance in their wake. Then the largest dolphin of them all, the orca, appeared in the churning vortex of Blackney Pass.

Despite being the largest dolphin on the block, it did not deter the the dolphins from mobbing the orca. They buzzed around them like glamorous gnats, all the while the orca kept a low profile. Some orca took deep dives to avoid their attention while others attempted to sleep, maybe using the theory that the more boring I am, the less you will be interested in me!

Birds were in great abundance in Blackfish Sound. Phalaropes rested in large flocks on the water while more of their kin spun around us. Huge flocks of gulls, rhinoceros auklets and common murres bunched together in dense concentrations as we sailed past Orca lab.

The cetaceans continued to make their presence felt with a humpback surfacing to our starboard side. Two flukes were seen in rapid succession, so we waited with bated breath for the reappearance of this elusive giant. The whale in question turned out to be Guardian, which was identified by our naturalist Sophia. Guardian continued to fluke again and again, giving everyone ample opportunity to photograph it’s magnificent tail fluke.

At Parson’s Light we had the pleasure of seeing some sleek harbour seals basking in the sunshine. Their blonde and bodacious cousins, the Steller sea lions flicked their way through the kelp below and gave us a toothy grimace.

A couple of Dall’s porpoises frolicked in front of our bow as we sailed towards Weynton Passage. The whale fest continued on ahead of us with orca and more humpbacks coming into view. The orca were the A36 brothers who have been very much on our minds of late. We first saw A46 who is called Kaikash foraging solo. We then saw his brother Plumper (A37) moving very slowly. Plumper has been gradually deteriorating for some time and every time we see him, we are unsure if it will be the last time. His brother never seems too far away, a testament to the incredibly strong familial bonds which are prevalent in Resident orca society.  A humpback which we know as Inukshuk cruised by in somnolent mode through Weynton. This whale was playing hard to get with swift sightings and no fluking.

On our way back to port we caught sight of 3 Steller sea lions posturing on a rock. As we passed by they roared at us, reminding us that they are indeed aquatic lions!

A day filled with many emotions, but most of all, gratitude and joy that we once again get to spend some time with these wonderful creatures.

 

Next Available Tour:

Friday, August 22nd @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Saturday, August 23rd @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Sunday, August 24th @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

 

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Wednesday, August 20th 2014 – MV Lukwa & MV Kuluta

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit - Sophia Merritt

Photo Credit Sophia Merritt

This morning we had the Fort Rupert Summer Day Camp on board with us as we searched this magnificent area for sighting of wildlife. Right off the bat we had great Humpback whale sightings as we headed towards a reports group of killer whales. Our on board biologist identified one whale as “Inukshuk”; we also spotted a few steller sea lions, bald eagles and harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. Once we found the killer whales we had an amazing view of these A30’s as they foraged and circled in the same area for about an hour or more also saw several humpback at the same time! Talk about amazing! These killer whales had strong vocals as we dropped down the hydrophone (under water microphone).

 

On this afternoons trip we had a great start before the MV Lukwa and MV Kuluta even departed from Telegraph Cove with a large group of 40-50 Killer whales heading right past the mouth of Telegraph Cove! These whales headed all the way to beaver cove. As we dropped our hydrophones down we heard lots of great vocals as well as some awesome echolocation as these whales circled around. After everybody on board had a great look we moved along to try to spot a few humpback whales. As we scanned the horizon a few blows were spotted in a distance so on we went catching a great glimpse at several humpback whales! Afterword we head for a gander of some of the great marine wildlife we are so lucky to be able to see! A few steller sea lions swimming in the tides, bald eagles perched in the tall trees and many harbour seals hauled out on the rocks keeping safe from predators out there.

All in all a great trip with warm sunshine, calm waters and great sightings!

 

Captain Wayne’s Quote of the Day:

“We create our fate every day we live”- Henry Miller

Next Available Tour:

Thursday, August 21st @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Friday, August 22nd @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

Saturday, August 23rd @ 9:00am and 1:00pm

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