Acrobatics and Amazing Vocals!

Monday, August 7, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Double orca breach! Two Northern Resident Killer Whales breach in unison, including a smaller, younger calf.

Quartz the Humpback Whale engulfs a school of Herring.

The I68 matriline of Northern Resident (fish-eating) Killer Whales surface together in a resting line.

A large male Steller Sea Lion barely hauls out of the water.

A Northern Resident Killer Whale spyhops out of the water as the group heads into the tide rips.

Our namesake, Stubbs Island, in some of the early morning mist.

Ridge the Humpback Whale gave us several shallow surfaces as he/she rested in a calm bay.

The A30 Matriline of Fish-eating Orca and a male from another family surface in sync, while vocalizing beneath the surface.

This Humpback Whale was seen in Blackney Pass just before the Orca made their way through the Pass.

Two Fish-eating Orca surface in Blackney Pass.

A group of Pacific Harbour Seals Hauled out in the evening low tide.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A23, A25, A30, I15, I35 and I68 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Squiggle, Merge, Ridge, Moonstar, Crescent, Inukshuk, Guardian, Quartz, Lucky), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Cassin’s Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfisher and Great Blue Heron.

A truly remarkable day out on the water; we had awesome viewing conditions, with minimal fog and glassy, clear waters, perfect for viewing wildlife. We started the day by heading north, passing the small community of Alert Bay and several Dall’s Porpoises as we scanned the channel, looking for Killer Whales. We came across two large groups of Killer Whales made up of several different matrilines, the A23s, A25s, I35s, and I68s, all resting! The whales had lined themselves up and surfaced in unison as they slowly made their way through the channel, resting. We dropped the hydrophone and heard a few calls, but the real treat was being able to hear all the blows from the 30 whales all around us on such a calm, quiet morning. As we made our way back to Telegraph Cove we passed by a well-known active Bald Eagles nest. While we were admiring the nest and juvenile eagles, Squiggle the Humpback Whale surfaced nearby.

The afternoon brought more excitement as Inukshuk the Humpback Whale got very active, breaching, tail lobbing and head lobbing, giving us a new appreciation for his/her immense size as it came flying out of the water. Even more Killer Whales, the I15 matriline, made their way into Johnstone Strait, and eventually joined up with the other matrilines. With all these different families together, there seemed to be some serious socializing and foraging. We again deployed our hydrophone, and were treated to absolutely phenomenal vocals! Echolocation could be heard too, and gulls descended to where Salmon scraps remained after the orcas had eaten. These incredible vocals went on and on, leaving guests onboard both of our vessels speechless. Tail-slapping, breaching, and cartwheeling could be seen from multiple individuals, and we even got to witness a quadruple spyhop!

As we made our way away from the orcas on our afternoon trips, the activity continued. We had our first sighting of Crescent the Humpback Whale. Quartz, the humpback, lunge-fed multiple times on juvenile Herring schooled together by diving birds and Lucky, another Humpback, was bubble-net feeding along one of the island shorelines. The evening trip followed Moonstar into Blackfish Sound, as she/he passed through a narrow channel amongst the islands. Ridge and Guardian were also seen, Guardian’s distinct white flukes taking away guests’ breath.

We got an idea for the true size of Steller Sea Lions as one hauled out onto a rock and we saw one in the water whacking a Spiny Dogfish. The shark got away, however, to the chagrin of the sea lion and circling gulls waiting for scraps.

This wonderful day concluded with more Killer Whale activity, as the same group of Fish-eating Orcas made up of multiple matrilines descended into Blackney Pass. Incredible vocals were again heard as two curious Killer Whales sat near the boat and stared at us for a few minutes. It was an amazing thing to witness and a truly humbling experience. A breathtaking end to a great day!

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald, Alison Ogilvie, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

About to breathe! A Steller Sea Lion surfaces after losing its meal.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

So West Coast!

August 6, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa and M.V. Kuluta

30 fish eating Orcas were surfaces in a resting line in the fog this morning. What a privilege it was to watch them.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A23, A25 and I15 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Squiggle, Ridge, Lucky, Guardian, and Nick), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfisher.

This Orca popped his/her head out of the water to have a look around.

A gorgeous capture of a mature Bald Eagle.

This Pacific Harbour Seal was having a good nap while the waves lapped at the island where it was hauled out.

Such a West Coast moment as this Orca surfaces against a foggy backdrop.

Ridge the Humpback Whale was named by the Marine Education and Research Society for the his/her very pronounced dorsal fin. Can you see why?

Fife the fish-eating Orca surfaces while traveling up the strait.

The incredible size of a mature male Steller Sea Lion.

Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca.

A great look at a Rhinocerous Auklet with a juvenile Herring in it’s beak.

It felt very much like the West Coast out on the water today. Orca and Humpback Whales were in abundance and the fog drifted in and out all day, creating a mystical atmosphere in which to enjoy watching wildlife.

Silence ensued as we shut off our engines this morning and drifted along the shoreline. Then of the mist came a Humpback Whale, its exhalation towering over the water. It slowly moved forward, eventually fluking against the foggy backdrop. Then in the distance, the dorsal fins of 30 Orcas appeared, slowly traveling up the coast in a resting line. We continued to watch in silence listening to the breathing of both the Orcas and the Humpbacks in the still air. We followed them slowly up the shoreline where another Humpback Whale appeared and once again we were watching both species. It really was magical, and so West Coast!

In the afternoon, the fog was clearing and appeared in whisps over the islands. The Orcas had spread out over the Straits, fishing and surfaced in every direction. We dropped our underwater microphone and were able to hear the very distinct donkey-like calls of the G-Clan dialect, used by the I15 matriline of fish-eating Orca.We had excellent looks at both Fife and Surge, two males with very distinct dorsal fins. Guests were really able to understand how it works to identify these animals as individuals.

Hidden in and out of the fog wall day was Squiggle the Humpback Whale. In the morning, he was seen surfacing alongside Nick, a known female Humpback Whale. They traveled together up the Strait. Then a young Humpback Whale appeared and Squiggle could be heard trumpeting as he rolled around quite close to this smaller individual. In the afternoon, he was swimming alongside a small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, and trumpeting once again. Squiggle was everywhere and very busy today.

Later in the afternoon we navigated through the fog and were able to hear Humpback Whale blows. As we got a bit closer we learned it was Lucky the Humpback Whale, who proceeded to solo bubble net feed, not one, but four times! We got a great look at their baleen and massive jaw as they lunged through the bubble ring to feed on all the small schooling fish.

The evening was as jaw dropping as the rest of the day. We caught up once again with the Northern Resident’s but it now, only the A23 and A25s were present. We watched as they surfaced in the beautiful setting sun. All spread out and then in the end coming together in a resting line. The mist of their blows glistening in the air.

We also got a great look at the immense size of a mature male Steller Sea Lion when we saw one hauled out. We also got great looks at Humpback Whale Guardian as she surfaced and tail fluked. A highlight from the evening was being able to see Herring in the mouths of Rhinocerous Auklets. The fish, dangling from their beaks were almost reflective with the evening lighting.

Every single tour took our breath away in some from or another.

Photo credits: Jennie Leaver, Alison Ogilvie, Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald and Ashley Nielsen. All images are property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

No Opportunity Missed, Just Mist Opportunities!

Saturday, August 5, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Some serious air time as this orca breached repeatedly off on her own!

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A30, A23, A25, I31s and I15 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Squiggle, Ojos Blancos, Ridge, Inukshuk, Ripple and Merge), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfisher.</p

A Northern Resident Orca does their best “Humpback Whale fluke shot” impression

A great view as this orca breaks the still surface of the water

A resting line of Northern Resident Orcas (and one decidedly done resting)

Fantastic Humpback Whale fluke!

Smack! Inukshuk the Humpback Whale smacks a massive tail fluke down

Splash! Inukshuk was pec-slapping too!

A Steller Sea Lion breaks the surface as the gulls hope there may be fish to snag

Can’t help but smile at this sideways shot of a Northern Resident Orca

Stunning! Orca surface in the low evening light.

The haze has drifted over to the North Island all the way from the forest fires in the Interior of British Columbia and it is mingling with the foggy morning mists to create a stunning backdrop to watch wildlife in! The sepia coloured lighting and tranquil air makes for a killer combination with all the killer whale action we encountered today! The Northern Residents (fish-eating) Killer Whales were spread out far across the horizon. We could hear them vocalizing all around us as they foraged and socialized, even picking up on the clicks of echolocation as they searched the water for some fish. We saw calves breaching and tail slapping, not to be outdone by a few adult females also tail slapping and leaping right out of the water!

Also splashing in the still air were Humpbacks! Squiggle the Humpback Whale was tail-lobbing in the morning, shooting a massive tail right out of the water. Inukshuk the Humpback Whale was also spotted slapping massive pectoral fins against the surface of the water not far from where we were watching the  Northern Residents. Inukshuk also did a few tail slaps against the water. Guests saw the beautiful and distinctive tail fluke and were able to help us identify Inukshuk the Humpback Whale!

Steller Sea Lions are starting to make their way down from their northern breeding grounds so we are spotting more of them in the area every day! We could hear them breathing in the morning mist and glimpsed some whiskery noses poking out of the water.

In the lower evening light, the Orcas moved towards Telegraph Cove while spread out in every direction. As we listened to these whales on our underwater microphone, we could see dorsal fins everywhere we looked! Ripple the Humpback Whale then swam through the islands using a very small pass. As we watched the Bald Eagle chicks up in the nest on our left, Ripple surfaced to our right. We ended the day with our most favourite problem….not knowing where to look.

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Jennie Leaver, Alex McDonald, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Calm Seas, Active Wildlife!

Friday, August 4, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Two Resident (Fish-eating) Orca surface, their exhalation glistering in the afternoon sun.

The huge mouth of Lucky the Humpback Whale breaks the surface of the water as he/she bubble-net feeds.

The tail of a Humpback Whale glides across the water after a lunge feed, a Great Blue Heron overlooking from the Bull Kelp.

A seabird having great difficulties getting some lift after a heavy meal.

A young Fish-eating Orca breaching out of the water.

Our motor vessel Kuluta onlooking Fish-eating Killer Whales in Johnstone Strait.

A Bald Eagle chick flew away from its nest to a nearby branch.

A Pacific Harbour Seal hauled out on a rock amongst the many seagulls.

A mature Bald Eagle takes flight through the fog as the sun sets

A group of Northern Resident Orcas pass by one of the OrcaLab outposts on the shore. Thank you to OrcaLab for all the amazing work you do in this area!

A Northern Resident Orca makes a splash through the misty morning

A breathtaking sunset tonight on the evening tour as Northern Resident Orcas break the surface and Rhinoceros Auklets fly by

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A30, A23, A25, I15 Matrilines), Humpback Whales (Lucky, Ripple, Argonaut, Slash, Moonstar, Ojos Blancos, Freckles and Squiggle), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Red-necked Phalaropes, Western Grebes, Black Turnstones, Marbled Murrelets, Black Oystercatchers, and Great Blue Herons.

What another amazing day on the water! As we made our way out of Telegraph Cove, fog lined the mountains surrounding us, enveloping us in a mystical atmosphere. We were soon informed that two families of Fish-eating Orca had returned again, and we caught up with them as they were socializing and foraging! They soon made their way to the Robson’s Bight Ecological Reserve. The afternoon trips were able to catch up with them as they made their way up Johnstone Strait out of the reserve in search of fish.

The water was like a lake, each exhalation of the orcas punctuating the calm, and multiple calls and clicks could be heard over our hydrophone. The Killer Whales became quite surface active in the afternoon, and a younger member of the pod was even seen breaching! There were also some speedy Pacific White-sided Dolphins spotted amidst the Orcas, travelling in the same direction for a few minutes.  One individual caught a salmon right on the surface of the water, we could see the salmon trying to get away and then the orca snatching it up!

Humpback Whales also surfaced around us, their huge blows dwarfing those of the orcas. Lucky the Humpback Whale was seen bubble-net feeding on our afternoon trip, the thick fog lifting just enough to allow us to see the circle of bubble forming and the huge mouth of the Humpback Whale breaking the surface of the water in a big splash. In the evening, Lucky was joined by Freckles and Ojos the Humpback Whales. All three of these whales were seen around the bubbles and at times, 2 bubble nets were being blown and bubbles could be seen rising to the surface. It was magical!

Some smoke tinged the high fog, making for neat lighting on the scenery around us. Orca surfaced against a pink sky in the evening and groups of birds flying past us reflected clearly on the smooth surface. A Great Blue Heron was seen perched on the Bull Kelp, looking for its next meal as one of the Humpback Whales lunge-fed nearby. As the Lukwa made her way back to Telegraph Cove, the sun looked more like an orange disk against the smoky sky. We’re anxious to see what more fun we will have out on the water tomorrow.

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip!

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald and Alison Ogilvie. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Orcas Galore and Awesome Humpback Whale Feeding!

Thursday, August 3, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Members of the T060 matriline surface after having preyed on Pacific Harbour Seals.

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out in the lovely and warm summer sun.

Guests try and capture a Humpback Whale Lunge Feed.

Conger the Humpback Whale lunge feeding.

Conger the Humpback Whale surfacing really high out of the water.

A Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca just about to come up for a breath.

SPY HOP!

A Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca tail slapping.

The low light shines against the Vancouver Island Mountains.

 

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A30, A23, A25, I15 Matrilines), Transient (Mammal Hunting) Orca (T060 Matriline, Humpback Whales (Merge, Cutter, Quartz, Guardian, Squiggle and Conger), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Black-tailed Deer, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes and Common Murres.

What a day today! This summer sun just continues to be amazing, hopefully everyone on board today was packing sunscreen.

We started off the morning with a report that the Northern Resident Orcas we had seen the night before were headed to the West. Sounding like they might be shortly out of our range we boogied out there and just in time. Guests got great looks as all of the matrilines were spread out and foraging. There was some socializing as well; people on board saw a few spy hops and some tail slapping. Always wonderful to see.

As the day progressed we had fantastic sightings of Bald Eagles. At one point as we were watching them fish at the surface of the ocean more and more Eagles were seen flying overhead from the treetops just behind us.

Great looks as well at smaller marine mammals today like Pacific Harbour Seals Black Tailed Deer and Dall’s Porpoise. Pacific Harbour Seals were seen hauled out on many of the shorelines today. Always interesting to see their different shapes, sizes and colours when we pass by them.

Later in the afternoon we had a jaw dropping encounter with Conger the Humpback Whale. When we came on the seen there was a large amount of bird activity, this can sometimes indicate that a Humpback Whale might soon be seen feeding in this area. Well, today was exciting as Conger lunge feed numerous times and then could also be seen trap feeding. Super cool!

In the evening,  the activity continued. Guardian the Humpback Whale could be seen breaching and tail slapping in the waves. And then we were fortunate to stumble upon a group of mammal hunting Orca! As the sun sank lower the lighting was fantastic as we watched this family of Orcas surface amongst the islands. Thanks to Jared Towers of DFO, we know that it was the T060 matriline that we were watching hunt for seals through the Bull Kelp.

We left the Orcas in the distance and as the sun set, headed back to Telegraph Cove after another fantastic day on the water.

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip!

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald, Jennie Leaver, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Guardian the Humpback Whale tail lobs in the wind.

A Black-tailed Deer comes down to the beach at low tide.

The sun was setting as we returned to Telegraph Cove. What a day!

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Summer Warmth and Return of the Orcas

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Beautiful blows and resting lines in the setting sun on our evening tour.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca (A30, A23, A25, I15 Matrilines) Humpback Whales (Squiggle, Ripple, Quartz, Cutter, Conger, Guardian,Slash and Yahtzee ), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Common Murres,

Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca travelling in a resting line.

A wonderful glimpse at a Dall’s Porpoise. Can you spot the blow hole?

A Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca surfaces just outside the tide rip.

Can you see all the fish? This Humpback Whale lunge feeds.

Surfacing almost in tandem.

A Humpback Whale rostrum just after a lunge feed.

A Rhinocerous Auklet with a juvenile Herring in his/her mouth.

Today we experienced a day warm enough that even on the water, our crew were in their t-shirts! The classic West Coast atmosphere could be seen in the distance, but we were fortunate with clear skies in front of us as we viewed wildlife today. Multiple families of Fish-eating Orca returned to the area and we got amazing looks and listens as they surfaced above the mirror-like ocean.

With our hydrophone we could hear that they were very active and vocal beneath the surface, calling out to one another and echolocating repeatedly. At times we could even clearly hear the difference between the A-clan calls and G-clan calls! Super cool!

Multiple Humpback Whales could also be seen and heard through the calm air. One individual we had not yet seen this season, Quartz, has returned to the area as well. These whales surfaced amongst multiple diving birds and we got to see just how quickly birds like Rhinoceros Auklets and Common Murres can disappear beneath the surface.

Seals took advantage of the calm tides to rest on rocks also laden with Gulls.

Steller Sea Lions could be swimming in many different locations on tours. When they are in the water swimming it is so deceptive and almost impossible to imagine that can be as big or bigger than a Grizzly Bear.

On our evening tour we were blessed with an unbelievable sunset. The “golden hour” is always a fantastic time for photos but tonight the setting sun actually had an added bonus. At the right angle tonight the sun was reflecting off juvenile Herring being held in the mouths of Rhinocerous Auklets. Not something we see everyday.

We had a jam packed day that was filled with so many different things, from feeding Humpback Whales to multiple matrilines of Killer Whales as well as Seals, Sea Lions and so much more. This nice weather has our trips filling up fast, so make sure to call our office and book ahead. Pretty evident lately on all of our adventures why this is considered on the best places in world to see whales and other marine life in the wild. Don’t miss out!

Want to experience things like this for yourself? Visit our website or come into our office to book your trip!

Photo credit: Jennie Leaver, Chloe Warren, Ashley Nielsen, Alison Ogilvie and Johanna Ferrie. All photo property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Rolling into August!

Tuesday August 1 , 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Lucky the Humpback Whale lunges through the bubble net he made to trap Herring.

The superstar of the diving world, a Common Murre.

Guests look and listen today.

Two Bald Eagles, one beginning to get its iconic white head and tail.

Check out all the Bull Kelp draped over Lucky the Humpback Whale!

Young Pacific Harbour Seals rest with their mothers in the sun.

 

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Merge, Slash, Conger, Ripple, Inukshuk, Lucky), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Harlequin Ducks, Black Turnstones, Pigeon Guillemots.

It is officially August! Or as we sometimes joke here in Telegraph Cove, “Foggest”. The morning did dawn slightly foggy, but gave way to stunningly blue skies. As we moved through the morning fog, we were reminded to use our other senses and “looked” for wildlife with our ears. There were indeed blows from Humpback Whales punctuating the morning mist and we followed our ears to see Lucky rolling in Bull Kelp! More blows could be heard and we happened upon Conger and Ripple the Humpback Whales. A beautiful sight was when all 3 whales grouped up and could be seen surfacing together, their blows hanging amidst the lifting fog.

As the day cleared up the sightings continued. Lucky the Humpback Whale was seen bubble-netting multiple times. Gulls swooped in to try to scavenge Herring that Lucky missed.  Steller Sea Lions surfaced intermittently, their blows so much smaller compared to the whales.

Pacific Harbour Seals were seen enjoying the same sunshine as us later in the day, pups resting near their mothers. We even got to see one nursing! Later on throughout the day, we got great looks at Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out. In one photo you can even make out the earl flaps. Check out our website to see this awesome picture.

Bald Eagles dotted trees and rocks, and we got a great look at an eagle whose plumage was changing. 4-5 years to get that white head and tail! The chicks we have been watching in a local nest are starting to be seen on nearby branches as well as inside the nest. We’re counting down the days until these young Eagles take flight.

An alternate look at a surfacing Humpback Whale.

A juvenile Bald Eagle lands after a short flight.

Can you spot the ear flaps on this Pacific Habour Seal?

The evening gave way to a stunning sunset. One of our favourite things about our evening tours is the incredible golden light you get. There was a serenity in watching the tower blows of Humpback Whales in the setting sun. Just awesome!

In closing another phenomenal day spent on the waters we are lucky to call home and operate on. From Humpback Whales to Pacific Harbour Seals there is always something that will take your breath away. We have to say we love this remote, remarkable and rugged place and hope to be able to share it with you in the future.

All photos property of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Photo credits: Johanna Ferrie, Alex McDonald, Jennie Leaver,Alison Ogilvie, and Ashley Nielsen. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Mist Creates Wonderful Atmosphere

A group of fish-eating Orca surface all together.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orca (A30, I15, A23, A25 and I35), Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Freckles, Squiggle, Merge, Conger and Galaxy), Sea Otter, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Common Murres, Harlequin Ducks.

What a marvelous atmosphere was created by the fog this morning. Here a mating pair of Bald Eagles sit shrouded in mist.

We found a Sea Otter on this afternoon’s trip.

Small red-necked phalaropes feed on the plankton they’ve sucked up.

Three Steller Sea Lion’s swim along the shoreline.

Merge the Humpback Whale flukes while going for a deep dive.

First days of flight! This Bald Eagle chick comes in for an awkward landing.

Several fish-eating Killer Whales surface near Stubbs Island.

Fogust arrived a day early in Telegraph Cove this year, but as the mist descended on us, all it did was create a wonderful atmosphere for viewing the wildlife on today’s trips.

The exhalations of Freckles and Argonaut the Humpback Whales resonated through the quiet morning as we sat watching these giants slowly surface in the mist; one exhalation and then the other. They moved slowly towards one another, fluked and disappeared in the fog. Out of the fog in the other direction came the fish-eating orcas. We could just make out the shadow of their dorsal fins, but their calls came loud and clear via the underwater microphone. Slowly guests got a better view of these orcas as they emerged from the fog. As we drifted, different families moved in and out of our view and in the distance dorsal fins of other families emerged on the horizon. The fog became thicker and we headed for the islands. We watched Bald Eagles shrouded in mist and found clear blue sky on the other side. What a morning!

More and more islands were emerging from the fog by the time we left on our afternoon trips. In the clearing, we found Squiggle the Humpback Whale, resting Steller Sea Lions and a Sea Otter! As the fog cleared, we slowly made our way out towards the last report of the Orcas and found all of the matrilines traveling together. Backlit by the sun, they surfaced across the horizon and once again, there were orcas in every direction. Back at the Eagle’s nest, we were thrilled to see that at least one of the three chicks we have been watching has flown! We watched it awkwardly come in for a landing close to the nest before turning back towards Telegraph Cove.

We ended our day by watching Conger and Merge the Humpback Whales as their blows were magnified by the setting sun, and watched their giant tail flukes submerge as they went for deep dives. Steller Sea Lions were spotted again. This time we came across six Sea Lions all swimming together, until one caught a fish and swung it side to side to rip it apart. We got another great look at the killer whales as we made our way back to Telegraph Cove, with some great vocals being heard through the hydrophones too.

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Slap Your Tail for Sunshine!

There’s kelp on that tail! Fish-eating killer whales frolicking around.

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orca (A30, I15, A23, A25 and I35), Humpback Whales (Freckles, Inukshuk, Merge, Squiggle and Galaxy), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Common Murres.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale tail lobbing this evening.

Killer whales everywhere!

Squiggle the Humpback Whale cruising through Blackfish Sound.

Fish-eating killer whale takes a break from being in the water.

Freckles the Humpback Whale takes a deep dive.

A mature Bald Eagle perches high up.

The sun sets through the island passes near Telegraph Cove.

Sunshine and killer whales were the theme of today’s tours. All day, we were lucky to see multiple families of fish-eating orcas as they slowly surfaced through the glassy calm waters. We watched as they socialized; spy-hopping, breaching and sometimes even slapping their tails madly on the water. In the evening, many of these killer whales had grouped up and we could see resting lines of killer whales across the horizon.

All day, everywhere we looked, we could see the dorsal fins as 50-60 killer whales surfaced in the calm waters. The orcas seemed to constantly be vocalizing, as every time we deployed our underwater microphone, their calls rang out over our speakers. At times we could also hear the distinct echolocation clicks as the whales searched for salmon. There were some very special moments as guests got to both watch and listen to killer whales.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale was up to all sorts of activity today. In the morning, we watched as he/she slowly surfaced in the bull kelp. The whale emerged repeatedly draped in algae and then started pushing a log around. Killer whales surfaced all around the Inukshuk, who showed no visible reaction. In the afternoon however, Inukshuk was very surface active. Guests had a great view as this whale repeatedly slapped his/her tail on the water as other Humpbacks blew in the distance.

When we took a break through the islands, Bald Eagle chicks could be seen in their nests and Pacific Harbour Seals splashed amongst the bull kelp. Kingfishers dashed from one tree to the next and we took a well needed rest from all of the excitement of earlier.

We ended the beautiful day by getting another great look at the dozens of killer whales as they passed by Stubbs Island in the setting sunlight. Galaxy the Humpback Whale was also seen later, his/her blows magnified in the light, with Pacific Harbour Seals seen bobbing their heads out of the water nearby.

Photo Credits: Alison Oglivie, Ashley Nielsen, Alex McDonald, Chloe Warren, and Jennie Leaver. All images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

We Didn’t Notice the Rain!

Saturday July 29, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Galaxy the Humpback Whale breaches in the misty rainy weather. Who cares about the weather when there’s airborne humpbacks?!

A young Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Killer Whales launches his/herself out of the water, much to our delight

Freckles the Humpback Whale flukes

Merge the Humpback Whale is back in the area this season! Welcome back Merge

Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Killer Whales surface together in a resting line

A Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Killer Whale slaps their tail against the surface of the water

A Northern Resident Killer Whale mother and her calf

Surprise! We also saw Transient (Biggs/Mammal-eating) Killer Whales in the area today!

Galaxy the Humpback Whale throws her massive tail out of the water and smacks it against the surface in the fog

 

Today’s Sightings: Northern Resident Orca (A30, I15, A23, A25 and more!), Transient (Biggs/Mammal-eating) Killer Whales (T036A and T075B), Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Freckles, Merge, Galaxy), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Steller Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Red-necked Phalaropes, Belted Kingfishers, and Common Murres.

The weather forecast may not have been sunny today but that didn’t stop it from being a shining trip! The Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Killer Whales were still in the area, with a lot of social action going on between the A30’s, A23’s, A25’s, I15’s and maybe more matrilines! As the fog and rain rolled in, we watched their blows hang in the air and listening to them breathe as they all travelled together in a resting line. We also heard some great calls using the hydrophone, there were A Clan and G Clan vocals distinguishable there!

We left the Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Killer Whales eventually but we didn’t have time get inside and dry off because all of sudden there were Transient (Biggs/Mammal-eating) Killer Whales passing right by us going the opposite direction! Thanks to Jared Towers of DFO for identifying these whales as members of the TO36A and T075B Matrilines. The Transient (Biggs) Killer Whales were headed straight for a known Pacific Harbour Seal haul out area so we watched carefully to see what the seals would do.

We also spotted some more fortunate Pacific Harbour Seals further away from the Transient (Biggs/Mammal-eating) Killer Whales as well as some Steller Sea Lions. There were also groups of Pacific White-sided Dolphins in the area as well as some very active Dall’s Porpoise who looked to be chasing some smaller fish (likely herring.)

Speaking of big fans of herring, the Humpback Whales didn’t seem to mind the weather too much either! Argonaut, Freckles and Merge the Humpback Whales were spotted in the area, Merge spotted for the first time this season! One of the big highlights of the day was Galaxy the Humpback Whale, who broke through the rain and the mist in a big way. Galaxy was slapping his/her tail against the water repeatedly, the sounds echoing across the water. He or She was also trumpeting and breached clear out of the water twice, to the delight of everyone.

Thank goodness for rain gear because every single guest was outside regardless of the weather, there was too much to see to bother trying to stay dry! Want to see things like this for yourself? Book a trip online or in store today!

All photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped. Photos taken by Alex McDonald, Alison Ogilvie, Chloe Warren and Johanna Ferrie.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment