Thunderin’ Thursday!

Thursday, July 5, 2017 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Obsidian the Humpback Whale (Ripple’s calf) rolls around in the water in front of a beautiful backdrop

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Quartz, Cosmo, Ripple, Obsidian, Merge, Guardian, Black Pearl, Squiggle, Argonaut, and unknowns), Dall’s Porpoises, Hybrid Dall’s/Harbour Porpoise, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Black Turnstones, Black Oystercatchers, Northern Phalaropes, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Common Murres.

Today was one of those days where we just didn’t know where to look! Humpback Whales kept us busy today, between watching Guardian the Humpback Whale lunge feed, Ripple and her calf, as well as some new individuals back in the area including Quartz, we were on our toes with heads on a swivel! The bird activity today was also spectacular, Bald Eagles were swooping down upon a bait ball among Rhinoceros Auklets and Gulls. Guardian the Humpback Whale lunge-fed. Black Turnstones and Black Oystercatchers were spotted on the rocks, milling about amongst hauled out Pacific Harbour Seal mothers with their pups. Dall’s Porpoises surfaced with the sunlight glinting on their backs (including a hybrid!) and a few Steller Sea Lions poked their heads out of the water to see what all the fuss about the sunshine was about. That sunshine was later replaced by a thunderstorm, complete with dazzling lightning strikes in the distance and rolling thunder. Spectacular!

Guardian the Humpback Whale lunge feeds on juvenile Herring as Bald Eagles and seabirds try to get out of the way!

Hard to believe these Dall’s Porpoises can be the fastest cetacean when we see them travelling slowly like this.

Pacific Harbour Seals stay hauled out as long as possible as the tide comes in

Obsidian the Humpback Whale (Ripple’s calf) head lobs in the calm clear water

Pigeon Guillemots create a striking scene with their bright red feet reflecting off the surface of the water

An unidentified Humpback Whale arches his/her back for a deeper dive

A Black-tailed Deer was spotted feeding on kelp at low tide on a small island

Stunning scenery today as the sunshine revealed the Coastal Mountains of the BC mainland

Bald Eagles line the tree tops near their nest as a thunderstorm rolls in

Rhinoceros Auklets soar by, can you see their little rhino horns?

So many Pacific Harbour Seal pups! Can you spot the nursing pup, as Black Oyster Catchers stroll by?

Post-thunderstorm

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

The (Fog) Curtain Lifts to a Beautiful Day!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Obsidian the Humpback Whale calf surfaces after rolling in the kelp.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Pisa, Ripple and her calf Obsidian, and unknown), Transient (mammal-eating) Killer Whales (T002C’s), Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Northern Phalaropes, and Pigeon Guillemots.

We set out into the foggy morning to see what wildlife we could find. As we travelled through Blackfish Sound the fog lifted and we were able to spot Pisa the Humpback Whale. As we cruised through the islands we came across Bald Eagles high up in the trees with two chicks in their nest, and Pacific Harbour Seals, including a mother-pup pair. Later in the afternoon we set out as we got reports of some possible Killer Whales in the area. We managed to catch up with them and discovered they were the Transient (mammal-eating) Killer Whale matriline, the T002C’s! When we slowly started to make our way back to Telegraph Cove we came across Ripple the Humpback Whale and her calf, Obsidian, being active in the current. Both whales were tail-lobbing and rolling around in the kelp. It was a great way to end the day.

The fog lifts over Johnstone Strait.

Ripple the Humpback Whale tail-lobs.

The T002C matriline of Transient (mammal-eating) Killer Whales travels along the Malcolm Island coast.

Two Bald Eagle chicks perch high up their nest.

Obsidian the Humpback Whale calf, lifts his/her rostrum out of the water.

Photo credits: Chloe Warren, Carmen Pendleton, and Ashley Nielsen. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Fins, Wings, and Blows… Oh My!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Very active Transient Orca Whale tail-lobbing near Alert Bay!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Merge, Squiggle and unknown), Transient (mammal-eating) Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Northern Phalaropes, Black Oyster Catchers, and Pigeon Guillemots.

We never know what to expect when we head out on the water and today was no different! As we left Telegraph Cove and headed though the islands many Pacific Harbour Seals were hauled out during the very low tide, including some mothers with their babies. We noticed a lot of bird activity ahead which turned into a bit of a feeding frenzy! Dozens of Bald Eagles and Rhinoceros Auklets were feeding on the small schooling fish like herring. We also came across Squiggle and Merge the Humpback Whales further down Blackfish Sound. Later in the afternoon we came across a family of six Orca coming up Johnstone Strait! Also, during the evening trip, we were lucky enough to see some very active Orcas tail-lobbing, sky-hopping and rolling around in the kelp just off Alert Bay!

Two Bald Eagle chicks perch in their nest high up in the trees.

What a beautiful day! A group of Transient Killer Whales travel along the Vancouver Island shoreline during a calm, sunny afternoon.

A very low tide means lots of Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out.

Look at that fin! A mature Transient Orca surfaces, his blow visible in the afternoon sun.

A young Transient Orca breaks the surface.

A Common Murre, shortly before diving.

The exhalation of Merge the Humpback Whale lingers behind his dorsal fin.

The beauty of the food web as Bald Eagles and Gulls feed on juvenile Herring schooled together by diving birds, primarily Rhinoceros Auklets.

A newborn! This very young Pacific Harbour Seal stays very close to its mother.

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Windy Monday Magic!

Monday, July 2, 2018 9am and 1pm – M.V. Lukwa

Squiggle breaching!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Squiggle and unknown), Fish-eating Orcas (A23 matriline and more),Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, and Northern Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots.

What an exhilarating windy day out on the water! We saw Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Squiggle and unidentified) and tail lobbing, breaching and feeding as well as Bald Eagles and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins! We all had to hold on tight and enjoyed the thrill of the tide rips and salty sprays.

Pacific White-Sided Dolphins!

A look at Argonaut’s fluke

Circling Bald Eagles

Surge, aka A61, of the Fish-eating Orcas surfaces near a Rhinoceros Auklet.

Spot the pup?

Look at that speed! A Dall’s Porpoise zooms by.

Pacific White-sided Dolphins cruise through windy waters.

Photo credits: Allison Parker, Johanna Ferrie and Carmen Pendleton. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped*

 

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, July 1, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Splash! This male Fish-eating (Resident) Orca breaks the surface of the water with a towering dorsal fin almost 2 metres tall

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Pisa, Black Pearl, Guardian and unknown), Fish-eating Orcas (A30’s, A23’s & A25’s), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Northern Phalaropes, and Black Oystercatchers.

Happy Birthday Canada! We celebrated Canada Day in the best possible way today, out on the water! Back for a second day, the Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas were spotted in the area. We identified the A30, A23 and A25 matrilines and got to listen to some amazing vocals using the hydrophone. There were also many Humpback Whales in the area spotted today including Argonaut, Pisa, Black Pearl and Guardian. Steller Sea Lions jostled each other along the shoreline and Bald Eagles were numerous, spread across the tree tops majestically.

Pacific Harbour Seals haul out on the rocks at low tide

A sight for sore eyes! The A30 Matriline of Fish-eating (Resident) Orca makes their first appearance of the year

Being a teenager is hard, no matter your species! This juvenile Bald Eagle has just about acquired all of his/her adult feathers, transforming it from a dark brown juvenile to a bright white-headed adult

The blows of these Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas were audible today as they surfaced

A mother and pup Pacific Harbour Seal pair haul out at low tide

A Black Oystercatcher picks its way across the rocks at low tide

Pisa the Humpback Whale arches his/her back for a deep dive

A juvenile Bald Eagle soars overhead, feathers spread wide in preparation for landing

Black Pearl the Humpback Whale takes a deep dive

Photo credits: Allison Parker and Alex McDonald. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Resting “Residents”

Saturday, June 30, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

The A23 and A25 matrilines of Fish-eating Orcas moving slowly in a resting line with a beautiful BC backdrop.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, 2 unidentified), Fish-eating Orcas (A23’s & A25’s), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Northern Phalaropes.

Glass-like water and stunning cloud coverage provided amazing backdrops today! Away from the strong currents the water barely appeared to move, and we were lucky enough to have our first sighting of the season of “Resident”, or Fish-eating, Orcas slowly moving through these calm waters. The A23 and A25 matrilines surfaced together as they rested, their blows echoing and lingering. Humpback Whales contrasted against the white reflection of the water, their blows sounding even more powerful. Bald Eagles circled overhead while Steller Sea Lions and Pacific Harbour Seals silently surfaced near some of the small islands.

Bubbles! Breaking the surface before this Steller Sea Lion comes up for air.

Two juvenile male Steller Sea Lions drift on their backs while interacting with one another.

A Gull drifts on a log near the Fish-eating Orcas, possibly observing them.

Fife, also known as A60, surfaces in the calm waters with his family.

Growing big! This Bald Eagle chick is getting bigger and spending more time looking out of the nest.

A Pacific Harbour Seal swims in small circles near some Steller Sea Lions.

The large dorsal fins of the two mature males – Fife and Surge – contrast against the smaller fins of their family members against the calm waters.

Photo credits: Allison Parker and Johanna Ferrie. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Fantastic Friday Feeding!

Friday, June 29, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Ripple and calf Obsidian diving in unison!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ripple and calf “Obsidian”, Conger, Squiggle), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller’s Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Pigeon Guillemots.

The strong currents provided a bounty of food for the Humpback Whales and Bald Eagles today. We were lucky to see Ripple and her calf Obsidian diving together in unison as well as the Humpback Whales Conger, Squiggle and Argonaut feeding upon the small schooling fish!

We saw the Gigkami today!

Bald Eagles and other birds flock to a baitball

Bald Eagle soaring by

Conger takes a breath

Photo Credit: Johanna Ferrie and Allison Parker. All photos taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Crazy Currents and Superb Cetaceans

Thursday, June 28, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Breathtaking scenery this morning.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Ripple and calf “Obsidian”, Conger, Pisa, Black Pearl), Mammal-eating Orcas (T060’s, T139’s, T069’s), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller’s Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Great Blue Heron, and Harlequin Ducks.

The tidal exchanges have been massive the last few days, meaning lots of currents and feeding activity! Humpback Whales Ripple and her calf Obsidian lunge-fed on juvenile Herring near Pisa, another Humpback, amongst loads of Rhinoceros Auklets. Bald Eagles came to the feast as well. Small Pacific Harbour Seals nursed from their mothers before the rocks got swallowed by water. A huge surprise was a large group of Mammal-eating Orcas! At least 3 different matrilines were travelling together and occasionally vocalizing. Dall’s Porpoises were highly active as well!

The rostrum of Obsidian, Ripple the Humpback Whale’s calf, breaks the surface.

Spread those wings! A mature Bald Eagle attempts to dry out its wings.

Look at that tide go! The flood tide was powerful today.

One of the Bald Eagle chicks pokes out of the nest.

A line of Mammal-eating, or “transient” Orcas moves through the water.

A Pacific Harbour Seal peaks over a rock at a group of Harlequin Ducks.

A young Mammal-eating Orca about to break the surface!

Conger the Humpback Whale dives amongst Rhinoceros Auklets.

Pacific Harbour Seals, young Bald Eagles, and Pigeon Guillemots.

The same mature Steller Sea Lion on the same rock as yesterday! Lovely coincidence

Captain John smiles after a great trip on the water.

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Whack-a-Fish!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Kuluta

Whack! One of the Steller Sea Lions we saw breaking its meal of a Dogfish Shark into smaller pieces.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Ripple and calf “Obsidian”, Squiggle, Guardian, and unknown), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller’s Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, Common Murres, and Northern Phalaropes.

Have you ever wondered how a sea lion eats its food? We got a couple of amazing looks at different Steller Sea Lions whacking and smashing salmon and dogfish shark around at the surface to break them up into smaller pieces. Gulls and Rhinoceros Auklets benefitted from this impressive display as well! Humpback Whales were also very active at the surface, breaching again and again in the massive currents. Black-tailed Deer were seen as we cruised through the islands and Dall’s Porpoise were very active nearby as we headed back to Telegraph Cove for the evening.

Obsidian, the calf of Ripple the Humpback Whale, launches out of the water!

Peek-a-boo! Spot the Bald Eagle chick in the nest?

They’re back! Our first sighting this season of Northern, or Red-necked, Phalaropes.

Argonaut the Humpback Whale almost appears to brush the rock.

A male Steller Sea Lion makes an impressive sight on this rock.

Ka-SPLASH! Squiggle the Humpback Whale lands in the water after a full breach, as a Rhinoceros Auklet manages to escape the massive splash.

“How much does he weigh!?” Mature male Steller Sea Lions can weigh over one tonne!

Hop, skip, and a jump, this Rhinoceros Auklet takes off.

The piercing gaze of a mature Bald Eagle.

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

 

 

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

What a Splash!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Splash! Obsidian the Humpback Whale calf breaches out of the water.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ripple and calf “Obsidian”, Conger, Backsplash, and unknown), Dall’s Porpoises, Steller’s Sea Lions, Pacific Harbour Seals, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, and Pigeon Guillemots.

What a day for wildlife viewing! As we set off in the morning Bald Eagles were seen perched in the trees while Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks below. A group of Steller Sea Lions also swam by as we made our way towards Blackfish Sound. As we made our way through the islands with the currents ripping, Black-tailed Deer were seen feeding on seaweed and Backsplash the Humpback Whale was seen feeding further along the shoreline. Later in the afternoon we also came across Conger the Humpback Whales, with Ripple the Humpback Whale and her calf in the distance. Both whales breached and head-lobbed several times, making quite the splash and continued right as we left, heading back towards Telegraph Cove.

A Black-tailed Deer feeds on the seaweed on the rocky shoreline.

The blow from Backsplash the Humpback Whale is clear in the afternoon light.

A pair of mature Bald Eagles perch high in the trees.

A Pacific Harbour Seal and her pup haul out on the rocks.

Ripple the Humpback Whale and her calf Obsidian fluke in the currents.

Photo credits: Ashley Nielsen and Carmen Pendleton, images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment