Touched by Sunlight

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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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