July 2011 Sightings
Sunday July 31
We started the day by heading up towards Robson Bight in search of the Orcas where the last reports of sightings were. We were pleasantly surprised when we spotted a group of 3 transients right in front of the Copper Bluffs, across from the mill. We spent a while drifting with the group while our guests happily filmed and photographed the whales. From here we headed into Nodales Channel where we found 2 black bears and lots of seals, sealions, and harbour porpoises. There were also many bald eagles flying above us. We saw a great mix of wildlife today and took an exciting run through the Yucalta, Dent Island, and Arran Rapids.
Saturday July 30
Our whale watch headed out with the hopes of finding an orca or two... Well, we did way better than that!! First we found a small group of transient orcas in Seymour Narrows. After spending plenty of time watching them we continued along our way and found an even larger group of resident orcas!! They were hunting for salmon in Nodales Channel and everyone was more than pleased. But things just kept getting better! After leaving the whales we found a pod of 50+ pacific white-sided dolphins!! Our day was rounded out with some harbour porpoises, eagles and a plethora of seals!
Friday July 29
Thursday July 28
Wednesday July 27
What a fantastic trip we had today. We left the dock at 9am and headed North up into Johnstone Strait. There, we encountered the beautiful A36s and A12 (aunty and nephews). We found them at Bear Bight heading east. What made it even more exciting was a group of 30 plus Pacific white-sided dolphins decided to accompany the orcas! Wow - what a sight: 2 huge male killer whales with white-sided dolphins riding on their nose!
Because the whales were close by we had time to see lots more so we left the brothers and their aunty and went to Stuart Island to enjoy the Yuculta Rapids and hundreds of eagles swooping down into the rapids feeding on the hake. A quick look at some Harbour seals and Harbour porpoises and back home we went.
However this was not the end: as we were passing through Hole in the Wall we came upon 10 Transient orcas. Unbelievable, Resident and Transient orcas in the same day. The Transients were right in the rapids, what an awesome sight.
Great, great day!!!
Tuesday July 26
We left the dock at 9am and headed north up to Johnstone Strait, we were on the look out for Resident orcas. As we cruised up the strait we got a report of a couple of hundred Pacific white-sided dolphins just south of Port Neville. After watching them play we continued to look for the orcas. We found them just North of Eve River! The A24s, six in all, what a beautiful sight, slowly moving eastwards. We enjoyed spending time with them taking photos and listening to the sounds of the orcas. Everyone had a great trip in the sunshine!
Monday July 25
Sunday July 24
Another gorgeous sunshiny day and we managed to catch up with 3 transient orcas of the T2s at Camp Point, they were slowly travelling west. We followed them for a while, then the dolphins found us, about 100 of them, breaching and racing all around us and we turned east with them and followed them back. We were rewarded with a healthy black bear foraging on the beach for berries and turning over rocks looking for mussels and little crabs. Dall's porpoise, a Harbour seal and 3 soaring eagles rounded out a leisurely Sunday Whale Watch.
Saturday July 23
Friday July 22
Thursday July 21
Wednesday July 20
Morning Whale Watch
Afternoon Marine Wildlife
Tuesday July 19
Monday July 18
Summary of a perfect day: Today it was all about orcas and dolphins. We found 4 members from the Resident A 23 matriline at Stimpson Reef; they were travelling slowly in a resting pattern, with little spy hopping and tail slapping.
Lots more activity shown by the 150+ dolphins which were extremely active, riding the bow and the wake of our boat. Plus, we were literally surrounded by porpoises, what a thrill to see these often elusive mammals in such concentration! And a gorgeous sunny day on the water to boot - bring it on!
Morning Whale Watch
Captain Warren was a legend this morning, finding the A23s in the upper Johnstone Strait at Vincent Bight! 25 happy guests enjoyed basking in the sunshine, watching these northern fish-eating resident orcas. Its been a long wait this year but like always it is worth it. On route everyone was treated to the awesome sight of 200 + Pacific white side dolphins just off Separation Head in the Discovery Passage. What with orcas and hundreds of dolphins all under the warm sun and blue sky… Ah, what a day!!!
Afternoon Marine Wildlife
Fantastic trip this evening - this was truly a safari in all the sense of the word: we saw Steller sea lions, Harbour seals, bald eagles by the dozen; 2 unbelievable black bear sightings, within 20 feet of these guys watching them chomp down on some high protein shell fish. And to top it all off, we found those dolphins again from this morning! What a sight!!! These acrobats were riding the stern wave for over 10 minutes whilst we cruised at 9 knots - just the perfect speed for some serious surfing action - and for the Grand Finale spectacular breaching and somersaults all under a pink sky... Perfect ending to a perfect day!
Sunday July 17
With the sun finally making an unexpected appearance, our gorgeous shorelines and waters took on that rich, awesome glow that gives it the perfect light to take glorious pictures. And the wildlife certainly took in their share of rays. Our guests were treated to a humpback whale feeding and Steller sea lions basking in the light, even 4 California sea lion pups were sighted. Lots of Harbour seals and eagles and were saw 4 black bears scooping mussels at the tideline. As for seasonal birds, watched about 100+ Common Murres, admired 2 lightning fast belted kingfishers and 50+ surf scooters. More days like this please, summer is here!
Morning Whale Watch
Captain Joel headed north up Discovery Passage, he heard a report from a tug boat regarding a possible Orca sighting at Hole in the Wall. As he approached the last known sighting another report came in of Orcas in the Sutil Channel, so he changed direction and headed full steam ahead. The report turned out to be a great one, our boat came upon up to 10 Transient Orcas and had a great time with the guests watching them interact with each other. Being in the area we headed off into the Strait of Georgia to Mitlenatch Island where we saw harbour seals, Steller sea lions and a huge array of seabirds. Great trip Captain Joel!
Afternoon Marine Wildlife
Off we went this afternoon, we were hoping to show our guests the orcas that we saw in the morning trip, so we headed in the general vicinity of the last sighting. Our friend Jen gave us the latest update so we were pretty confident. Sure enough we found them at Kinghorn Island at the mouth of Desolation Sound. They were travelling fast with long deep dives, when suddenly they stopped and for the next hour they just milled and rested, rubbing each other, spy hopping and just generally relaxing. There were 7 all up and we were watching and listening to their distinctive breathing on a calm ocean with snow capped mountain peaks as a backdrop which was awe inspiring. We even put the hydrophone in the water and picked up distinct echolocation clicks, something that we don't often hear in the very quiet transients. Seals, sea lions, eagles, Pigeon Guillemots, scotters, gulls and Pelagic Cormorants rounded off a beautiful evening.
Saturday July 16
Whale Watch Trip
Departed 9am this morning on the look out for transient killer whales as the northern residents still haven't arrived in the area as of yet. We headed north up through the lower Johnstone Strait area and into Blind Channel and Loughborough Inlet. There we saw a large group of Harbour porpoise foraging, it is so nice just to sit in these beautiful coastal inlets with the engine off and only the sounds of nature all around. The porpoises were all around the boat and we listened intently to the 'puffing' sound of their breathing. Onward into Phillips Arm and we caught sight of a beautiful, mature black bear: very healthy looking, at least 300 pounds, feasting on crabs and mussels in the inter tidal zone. The 'eagle show' and 100 plus foraging harbour seals rounded off a great day.
This afternoon was magical, there was a low lying sea mist creating a spectacularly erie scenery… Right off the bat we enjoyed watching a group of pacific white sided dolphins chasing fish and treating us to some spectacular breaching as well as some surfing in our stern wave. I love watching these guys, they bring a smile and joy to everyone who is watching. On through the mist we travelled and enjoyed the scenery, the 100+ eagles, Harbour porpoise and Harbour seals.
Although the weather is unseasonably cool, it was still a great day. Tenacious III is such a warm and roomy vessel to enjoy the wildlife in any condition!
Friday July 15
Marine Wildlife Trip
We headed back out at 4pm this afternoon for our 4 hour Marine Wildlife Safari, and as a special treat we were hoping to catch back up with the transient orcas that we saw this morning. While it was very overcast and drizzly, the water was fantastic, not a ripple on the water, so very still and erie. One of Sonora Lodge's sport fishing vessels radioed through to Captain Joel and told him he saw orcas in Frederick Arm, cheers for that. So without further ado thats where we headed, sure enough we spotted the T2s through the fog - it was so beautiful watching these magnificent mammals cruising silently through the mist, AWESOME!!
Our trip was completed with a drive past the 100+ eagles at Jimmy Judd, well over 100 Harbour seals at Sonora Island and multiple Harbour porpoise sightings in the upper rapids of Okisollo Channel. A wet day, but a great one all the same.
Whale Watch Trip
There was no early report of any Orcas first thing, so we took the southern route around Quadra and headed north. Sutil Channel has been a favourite haunt of the Transient orcas this season, so our eyes were peeled when a report came in of a possible sighting further north. We finally came upon the orcas at the mouth of Loughborough Inlet and followed them eastward along Cordero Channel. The 3 transient orcas belonged to the T2 matriline and treated us to some wonderful sightings, including a spectacular breach and a harbour porpoise chase!!! All in all we got what we came for and despite the damp conditions we all left for home very, very happy.
Great weather, great sightings - everything played in our favour! Our whale watch found 12 transients at Beazley Passage, which separates Maurelle Island and Peck Island by Surge Narrows Provincial Park. They were displaying a variety of social interactions, spy hops, breaching, tail slaps, you name it. Also found ourselves in the company of a couple of playful Harbour Porpoises and saw 6 Harbour seals and two Black Bears.
Next to the orca sightings the 'WOW' was clearly the show display of about 100 eagles swooping and diving for fish.
A great trip for our guests and the captain's quote of the day sums it up: "Awesome!"
We had a great day today and the weather cooperated for us too! Our group saw a Humpback whale feeding behind Raza Island, a large pod of Harbour porpoises and when we went down to Mitlenatch, we saw many Harbour sealions. We were also lucky enough to spot 6 Pacific white-sided dolphins around Bute Inlet, 30+ Bald eagles, 3 Stellar Sea lions and a California Sea lion. It was a good day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
Thursday July 14
Another wet day, not much wind though, flat, calm waters, and we headed out to search for orcas. We found them towards the latter part of the trip at the southern end of Cortes Island moving south to Sutil Channel. They are our famous T2s, a family of 3, moving along slowly, and they reward our persistence with spy hopping, tail and pectoral fin slapping and half breaches.
Our sightings before included elusive Harbour and Dall's porpoise and a great showing of pacific white-sided dolphins surfing the wave of our boat, those acrobatic clowns always brighten a dreary day!!! We saw a beautiful black bear in Philips Arm, quite a number of Harbour seals at the rapids and eagles everywhere at Jimmy Judd Island (stopped counting at 100...). Honourable mention to seasonal bird sightings of Rhinoceros Auklets and White-winged Scooters.
Captain's quote of the day: "Life is a darling adventure - or nothing". Helen Keller
Wednesday July 13 - Update to yesterday's tour
The injured dolphin had deep teeth marks all over its body and was trapped in water only a foot or two deep, where it perched itself against the rocks as tight as it could. For about an hour the orcas tried to find a way how to get to the dolphin, then finally gave up and left it alone.
Tuesday July 12 - Marine Wildlife Tour
The trip of a lifetime today - I have never heard our seasoned Captain Joel talking soooooo excitedly about what he's witnessed; in all those years as a skipper he hadn't seen anything alike! National Geographic education material for sure: 8 ORCAS trying to figure out how get to an injured DOLPHIN.... "it is all about how humbling it is to witness the enormous power of mother nature", he gasped. Stay with us - more details soon !!!
Monday July 11
Sunday July 10
Saturday July 9
Friday July 8
THE RESIDENT ORCA ARE HERE!! We have trips departing daily at 9am and 4pm. Call us at 1-866-501-6722
Come on out and experience one of the true wonders of BC!
Wednesday July 6
Today we are out on the water with 10 transient Orcas!!! And yesterday we found a huge Grizzly on the beach!!!
Tuesday July 5
Saturday July 2
Friday July 1