On the Move!

Saturday, September 15, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

A large group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins foraging. Can you spot the seagull hoping to catch some scraps?

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Stitch, Ridge, Merge, Claw, Inukshuk, Squiggle, Bumpy, Argonaut, Guardian, and many more!), Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas (A30 and I15 Matrilines) and Mammal-eating (Transient/Bigg’s) Orcas (T055s), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Sooty Shearwaters, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Great Blue Heron, and Northern Phalaropes.

The rain held off this morning and we were lucky enough to find some of the Northern Resident Orcas who have been ranging further and further out of our area as of late. They were moving swiftly with the ebbing tide down the aptly named Blackfish Sound. The rain caught up to us later on, but not before we were able to catch up to the Orcas as they moved further west behind Malcolm Island. A large and acrobatic group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins ranged nearby, at times interacting with the Orcas and Humpback Whales when not busy fishing, with Seagulls soaring over top hoping to catch a scrap. Mammal-eating Orcas also appeared later in the day, travelling quickly. It was impossible not to see a Humpback Whale today; they were spotted in any and all direction, fluking and occasionally lunge-feeding. The day was complete with Dall’s Porpoises speeding by the boat, Steller Sea Lions swimming by or roaring on the rocks, Bald Eagles soaring overhead, and a couple of curious Pacific Harbour Seals poking their head out of the water by the Lukwa.

A Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orca surfaces at the same time as a Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

Amazing clouds this morning as the sunshine begins to peek through over Johnstone Strait.

The Northern Resident Orca “Bend”, or A72, shows her tail as she goes down.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin surfs some large waves.

Pacific Harbour Seals peer around above the surface of the water.

The Fish-eating Orcas A72-Bend and her calf Jamieson surface side by side.

The silhouette of a Northern Resident Orca from the I15 Matriline.

No pillow, no problem! Just use your fellow Steller Sea Lions.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphins cartwheels out of the water!

Merge the Humpback Whale flukes.

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Wildlife Experiences with all Senses!

Friday, September 14, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Amazing clouds enshrouded Telegraph Cove as we left this morning

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Quartz, Conger, Inukshuk, Merge, Freckles, Ridge, Argonaut, Claw and many more!), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Great Blue Heron, Harlequin Ducks, and Northern Phalaropes.

Today started with an incredibly textured sky and calm seas. The wildlife was anything but calm this morning though! Humpback Whales circled in all directions, lunge-feeding unpredictably on multiple bait balls of small schooling fish. Inukshuk the Humpback Whale was particularly active this morning, waving his massive tail flukes and pectoral fins around in the air while trumpeting loudly. He was also joined by fast moving Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Because there were so many Humpback Whales in the area and the wind was blowing in just the right direction…  we also got to smell these giant whales. Nothing like a whiff of whale breath in the morning to wake you up! This afternoon the Humpback Whales were still in the area and were often in close proximity to both dolphins and sea lions. The dolphins were very acrobatic, leaping right out of the water!

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out in the kelp beds

The huge tail of Inukshuk the Humpback Whale hovering above the water

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin speeds along at the surface

It’s halfway through Spectacular September, what !?

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale slaps his massive pectoral fins against the surface of the water, the pleats of his belly visible above the water

Mature Bald Eagle

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale and a Pacific White-sided Dolphin going their seperate ways

Nothing like a good scratch!

Pacific White-sided Dolphins leaping from the water!

Sea lions swimming past.

A Steller Sea Lion along with Pacific White-sided Dolphins.

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton, Chloe Warren, and Alex McDonald. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Hop on Over for Huge Wildlife!

Thursday, September 13, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

We couldn’t help but laugh as this young Steller Sea Lion struggled to hop on top of a much larger one

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Quartz, Corporal, Conger, Stitch, Inukshuk, Ripple, Obsidian, Argonaut and many more!), Fish-eating (Resident) Orcas (I15 matriline), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Northern Elephant Seal, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Great Blue Heron, and Northern Phalaropes.

Pacific Harbour Seals and Steller Sea Lions weren’t the only ones enjoying this morning’s low tide, a Black-tailed deer also ventured out on the rock kelp! Mature Bald Eagles surveyed the activity perched atop trees. Multiple Humpback Whales were seen all around the area today, including Stitch, who enjoyed a morning snack as she lunge-fed surrounded by seabirds. Ripple and her calf Obsidian created ripples as they broke the surface of the glassy calm waters. Northern Resident (Fish-eating) Orcas were still in the area as well, foraging for fish. Another awesome sight today: a Northern Elephant Seal, looking very much like a deadhead, poke his head out of the water in Johnstone Strait! It is incredibly rare we see this species on our tours; this is our first sighting of the season!

Ripple and her calf Obsidian, Humpback Whales, surface in tandem in the morning fog.

Splash! Stitch the Humpback Whale lunge-feeds. Can you see the Herring flying out of her mouth?

Guests enjoy the sight of Stitch the Humpback Whale surfacing with the beautiful White Cliffs Islands in the background.

It’s getting cold out! The smelly breath of this Steller Sea Lion condenses as he roars.

A Black-tailed Deer licking the salt off the rock kelp while being surveyed by a Steller Sea Lion.

It might look like a log, but it isn’t! This is a Northern Elephant Seal, an incredibly rare sight on our tours!

A Northern Resident Orca dives down as she forages for fish

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out on the rocks

Two mature Bald Eagles perched in the shade

Fantastic Humpback Whale flukes in the calm clear waters today

A Northern Resident Orca makes a splash as she forages for fish

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Where to Look?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Fork-tailed Storm Petrels are being seen more frequently these days!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Ojos Blancos, Conger, Argonaut, Pisa, Claw, Ridge, Geometry, Guardian, and many more!), Fish-eating (Resident) Orcas (I15s, A30s), Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Fork-tailed Storm Petrels, Scoters, Great Blue Heron, and Northern Phalaropes.

A true West Coast day greeted us today as we ventured out into the wild. Seabirds dotted the water almost everywhere we looked, including Fork-tailed Storm Petrels migrating through the area. The sea lion rock is getting crowded now with sea lions all the way up to the trees. Cetaceans of all varieties were plentiful; Fish-eating Orcas were actively fishing and we could hear the clicks of echolocation, Humpback Whales fed on small schooling fish, and Dall’s Porpoises and Pacific White-sided Dolphins zoomed across the surface!

West Coast wonder!

Steller Sea Lions clamber over one another, their breaths hanging in the calm, cool air.

Pacific Harbour Seals taking in some fog.

A Humpback Whale rolls at the surface, swinging its massive pectoral fin.

Guests enjoy the quick sight of Dall’s Porpoises speeding by.

Naturalist Carmen and Cap’n Wayne deploy the hydrophone.

Black Oystercatchers perched on a a small island.

Don’t forget to look up!

Orcas surfacing in front of Stubbs Island.

White-winged Scoters.

Bottoms Up! A Common Murre, superstar of the diving birds.

A Steller Sea Lion, lips still red from finishing up his freshly caught supper!

The blow of a Northern Resident Orca lingers in the evening sun

The fantastic fluke of Geometry the Humpback Whale who was sighted in this area for the first time this season!

Claw the Humpback Whale trap feeds at the surface of the water

Sensational setting sunlight on Steller Sea Lions!

Photo credits: Carmen Pendleton, Johanna Ferrie, Chloe Warren, and Alex McDonald. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Multi-Species Madness!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Dall’s Porpoise, Pacific White-sided Dolphin and Orca!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Black Pearl, Stitch, Ashes, Claw, Merge, Hunter and many more!), Fish-eating (Resident) Orcas (I15s, A30s), Pacific Harbour Seals, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Black-tailed Deer, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Scoters, Blue Heron, and Northern Phalaropes.

The only trouble on our trips today was deciding what to look at. At one point on our morning trip there were Orcas, Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins and Steller Sea Lions in the same spot! It seemed like the dolphins were racing the porpoises, and splashing all around them were sea lions. We were lucky to hear the vocalizations of both the A and G clans of Orcas, as well as the dolphins. Humpback Whales were also being followed by many of the smaller species today including dolphins and sea lions. What a busy day!

Fluke! Hunter the Humpback Whale

A Black-tailed Deer grazing on the shoreline.

A Gull soars over the Lukwa.

Dolphins race past the Lukwa.

Can you smell them yet?

Black Pearl the Humpback Whale.

Common Murres.

What a beautiful day!

So much Steller action going on in this one!

Incredible backlighting illuminating the blow of Merge the Humpback Whale

Scenic view of hauled out Steller Sea Lions and a Bald Eagle perched in an adjacent tree

We ended the day today with a rainbow over Blackfish Sound!

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Carmen Pendleton and Johanna Ferrie. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Wet ‘n Wild Wonderland!

Monday, September 10, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Lucky the Humpback Whale hauls her huge tail in the air, making a big splash!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Lucky, Ripple, Obsidian, Ridge, and many more!), Fish-eating (Resident) Orcas (I15s, A30s, A23s, A25s), Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres, Storm Petrels, and Northern Phalaropes.

Moody West Coast skies greeted us this morning; rain fell as our spirits soared! So did some of the wildlife. Dozens of Steller Sea Lions and Pacific Harbour Seals were hauled out on the wet rocks, enjoying a fresh water shower. Many Sea Lions in the water looked like dolphins as they porpoised right out of the water! Hundreds of seabirds covered the turbulent waters, but the Humpback Whales around did not seem particularly hungry today: they were busy hauling their enormous tails in the air and porpoising out of the water, perhaps playing in the waves? Orcas also went airborne, breaching and porpoising in Johnstone Strait. Such a spectacle to see such huge animals right out of the water! Rainbows and glowing clouds appeared intermittently, dazzling us with west coast weather, whales, and wonderment.

Low tide, so much space for all these Steller Sea Lions!

And then…High tide! Barely any of the rock left.

A Pacific White-sided Dolphin breaks through the surface quickly.

Swaths of mist adorn Vancouver Island.

Lucky the Humpback Whale porpoises out of the water.

A rainbow appears over Vancouver Island as the rains stops for a brief moment.

The Pacific White-sided Dolphin is dwarfed by the fin of this male Fish-eating Orca.

Lucky’s pectoral fin and part of her fluke stick out of the water as she splashes on her side.

The stunning views of classic West Coast weather in Johnstone Strait.

A Gulls soars past our motor vessel Lukwa.

This Fish-eating Orca throws his tail right out of the water!

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Soaked but Stoked!

Sunday, September 9, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Pisa the Humpback Whale cartwheels across the surface of the water

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Inukshuk, Ripple, Obsidian, Pisa, Freckles, Lucky, Domino and many more!), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (I33, A30, I15 Matrilines and more), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, Common Murres, Black Oystercatchers, Surf Scoters, and Black Turnstones.

We started today out in some serious West Coast style, with a wonderfully low tide and stormy skies. Lucky for us, marine wildlife doesn’t mind getting wet! We watched in amazement as Pacific White-sided Dolphins and a Steller Sea Lion mobbed Inukshuk the Humpback Whale. He waved his massive tail around in the air and trumpeted in displeasure. Pisa the Humpback Whale was also active with his tail flukes, slapping them against the surface and creating massive splashes. We also caught up to some Northern Resident Orcas today as the sun finally graced us with some warmth,  including members of the I33 Matriline. They too were interacting with incredibly fast moving Pacific White-sided Dolphins. This afternoon there was more to see with spyhopping Orcas and feeding Humpback Whales.

Spyhop!

Surfing Steller Sea Lions.

Members of the Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orca population.

Inukshuk the Humpback Whale waves his massive tail flukes in the air

Three members of the I33 Matriline of Northern Resident Orcas

Two members of the I33 Matriline of Northern Resident Orcas surface simultaneously

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out for a rest.

Northern Phalaropes.

Surf Scoters.

Common Murre.

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Chloe Warren, Carmen Pendleton and Johanna Ferrie. Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

No Rain, No Gain!

Saturday, September 8, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa & M.V. Tenacious III

Merge the Humpback Whale lunge feeds on a bait ball among Gulls and Common Murres

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Black Pearl, Claw, Hunter, Stitch, Merge and many more!), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A30, A25 and I15 Matrilines and more), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, Common Murres, Black Oystercatchers, Black Turnstones, and Scoters.

Well, the weather today was far from tropical… but the action was far from typical! We had amazing bird sightings today, from seabirds like Common Murres, Rhinoceros Auklets and Scoters to soaring birds like Bald Eagles and Belted Kingfishers. Humpback Whale blows were spotted in any and all directions and multiple individuals were seen lunge-feeding on bait balls today, including Argonaut, Black Pearl, Claw and Hunter. We also had a great look and listen to some Northern Resident Orcas today from the A30, A25 and 115 Matrilines as they spread out across Blackfish Sound foraging. All in all, our rain gear got put to good use and we didn’t really notice the rain with all the wonderful wildlife around!

A Northern Resident Orca surfaces in front of a stunning west coast backdrop

Pacific Harbour Seals hauled out as the tide rises

Gorgeous silhouette of a juvenile Bald Eagle

The distinctive dorsal fin of Claw the Humpback Whale

Northern Phalaropes feeding on phytoplankton

What!? There’s only 4 more weeks to get out on a trip with Stubbs??

A Northern Resident Orca surfaces in the calm water

Claw the Humpback Whale lifts her tail as she prepares for a deep dive

Steller Sea Lions jostle for a good spot on the rocks as the tide rises

Photo credits: Alex McDonald, Chloe Warren, Carmen Pendleton, and Johanna Ferrie. *Images taken with a telephoto lens and cropped.*

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Somewhere Under the Rainbow!

Friday September 7, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Rainbows abound outside of Telegraph Cove today. You can have my lucky charms, I’ll take the wildlife!

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Freckles and Stitch), Northern Resident (fish-eating) Orcas (A30, A25 and I15 Matrilines), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, and Common Murres.

Today we were feeling luckier than a leprechaun on the water! We saw not one, but two rainbows in the morning! We didn’t find pots of gold at the end of these rainbows but we did find some wildlife. The Northern Resident Orcas were vocalizing and foraging for fish in the morning, then grouped up in a resting line in the afternoon. There was also a feeding frenzy today, with Argonaut and Freckles the Humpback Whales lunge-feeding amidst diving birds and gulls. Two different male Steller Sea Lions were spotted whacking fish at the surface of the water, one of them eating a salmon big enough to make any fisherman drool. Dall’s Porpoises and Pacific White-sided Dolphins surfed on windy waves, creating sensational splashes. All in all, we counted our lucky charms today and although we came out a little rain soaked, we wouldn’t trade our luck for anything!

Northern Resident Orcas grouped up in the morning light, blows of air lingering over the surface magically

Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks at low tide

Stitch the Humpback Whale surfaces beside a Common Murre

A young Northern Resident Orca spyhops!

A mature Bald Eagle keeping dry, perched in a tall tree

Stunning scenery as these Northern Resident Orcas pass by

A Steller Sea Lion in the process of whacking a massive salmon into bite size pieces as clever gulls attempt to get a chunk of the action

Stitch the Humpback Whale dives down under the surface of the water. She’s searching for the same food as the Common Murre next to her!

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

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment

Backlight Blows and Sea Lion Rows!

Thursday September 6, 2018 – M.V. Lukwa

Sensational sunrise over Johnstone Strait this morning.

Today’s Sightings: Humpback Whales (Argonaut, Merge, Slash, Ridge, Pisa, Freckles, Ripple, Obsidian, and many more!), Fish-eating/Resident Orcas (I15’s, A25’s), Dall’s Porpoises, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Pacific Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets, Belted Kingfishers, Common Murres, Northern Phalaropes, Leach’s Storm Petrels, and Pelagic Cormorants.

All of our cares melted away as we crossed into Johnstone Strait this morning and witnessed an absolutely breathtaking sunrise. The light that broke through the clouds also illuminated the blows of multiple Humpback Whales just around the corner from Telegraph Cove. Further out, Steller Sea Lions growled, snorted and splashed, their breath also hanging in the morning air (though their breath is a different experience entirely, olfactory-wise). This afternoon was just as stunning with multiple Humpback Whales lunge feeding and bird activity all around. We were fortunate enough to see some Fish-eating Orcas speed through the area in the late afternoon, closely followed by the lowering sun. 

Great conditions to capture a calm moment of these Pacific Harbour Seals!

One more sunrise, because it was that awesome.

A Gull harasses a Mature Bald Eagle perched on a tree.

The fin-tastic fluke of Argonaut the Humpback Whale flukes (left) as Merge the Humpback Whale follows close behind, arching his back (right).

Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks, adding their lovely breath to the fog hanging in the air.

A Bald Eagle who likely just molted their juvenile plumage for adult plumage recently, as you can see by the white head but speckled body feathers.

Pisa the Humpback Whale swimming in the calm waters off of Telegraph Cove.

Seeing double? Two Fish-eating Orca calves each surface with their respective mothers.

Storm Petrels are beginning to be seen in the area!

Who’s going to get to the food first?

Steller Sea Lions

Momma’s boys; a male from the I4 matriline of Fish-eating Orcas surfaces beside his mother.

A mature Bald Eagle watching over Telegraph Cove as we departed.

Baby fluke! Obsidian the Humpback whale dives beside his mother Ripple.

Views back towards Telegraph Cove from Blackfish Sound this evening, aboard the Lukwa.

Photo Credits: Alex McDonald, Chloé Warren, Carmen Pendleton and Johanna Ferrie. Images taken with a telephoto lend and cropped.

Posted in Captain's Log | Leave a comment