Sunday October 1, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa
Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ridge, Argonaut, Meniscus, Hunter and Black Pearl), Transient “Bigg’s” (mammal-eating) Orca (UK) Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Ancient Murrelets, Red-necked Phalaropes, and Common Murres.
Luckily on yesterday’s tour there were no neck injuries as guests were required to look in so many different directions.
There was action pretty much right off the dock on today. Just after we crossed Johnstone Strait we started spotting Humpback Whales. There has been so many of these giant whales around lately, but we continue to be astonished by their impressive feeding techniques.
We watched as Argonaut and Ridge, two Humpback Whales we know well in this area, started lunge feeding. Lunge feeding is impressive in and of its own, seeing a whale that big with his/her mouth wide open will steal your breathe, we promise you. That being said, this lunge feed was crazy, as Ridge and Argonaut appeared to be lungeing so high through these bait balls that half their bodies were out of the water.
The beautiful lighting that comes with Fall made our viewings of the Steller Sea Lions even more splendid. Their creamy brown colour was so accentuated by the light, they just looked marvellous. Add to these sensational conditions the audio component of listening to their growls and grunts as they negotiate sharing their haul out. Pretty cool stuff to see.
Then a report came in that there were Orca in the area. These whales turned out to be the mammal-eating ecotype who feed on a variety of other marine mammals, one of which being, Steller Sea Lions. Transient Orca are often very stealthy, taking long dives and difficult to track and this groups was very stealthy. We had a difficult time keeping track of them at first but then eventually everyone on board got a good look. In the same area were a lot of Steller Sea Lions who were whacking a fish and appeared to be on high alert. The Orcas just passed trough though, paying no attention to the sea lions.
Then, everything happened at once, a Humpback Whale lunge fed, meanwhile Orcas could be seen on the other side of the boat and there was Steller Sea Lions swimming around as well. You can see now why Captain Wayne was concerned about neck injuries. LOL! Then to end things off, we returned to the dock in Telegraph Cove and watched a Mink scurry back and fort across the dock catching crabs.
Phew! What an afternoon!
Photo credit: Alison Ogilvie. All photos are property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching and were taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.