September 2010 Sightings
Thursday September 30
-What a perfect whale watching day! We found about 20 resident orcas at Bear Point in dead calm waters and followed them for the longest time with the hydrophones in the water, listening to their vocalising. We had dolphins riding our bow waves and saw tons of Dall's porpoise too. It was warm and sunny, one of those treasured autumn days where you just want to hang out on the water!
-We end September with a day of great grizzly sightings, 15 bears, incl. 2 moms with their cubs. We saw bears the entire time we were there, and the weather and light for pictures were fantastic as well!!
Wednesday September 29
-We had no Whale Watching Safari out today, but our Grizzly Bear Expedition saw 7 bears and it was quite a show! The mom with her 2 cubs is always the main attraction, and this time she challenged the big guy: he had half a salmon left from his catch and mom chased him ferociously to snatch it from him.
Tuesday September 28
-Our whale watch safari had to go farther up today, to Blackfish Sound, but it was well worth the travel and we found our orcas again! This is why we estimate 6-7 hours for the whale watch tours and this is why we have invested into the boats with heated cabins and onboard washrooms: for our guests to go the distance in comfort!
Sunday September 26
-Our grizzly bear tour guests had excellent sightings. Big "Bruno" was sleeping right at the road side when we shuttled up, and upon waking him up with our presence he trotted over to the spawning river to catch some salmon. "Scarface" the fierce looking male caught a salmon as well while we were watching and we saw the mom with two cubs again.
As well, good marine wildlife sightings from the boat along the way, everything but dolphins: a humpback at Stuart Island, 4 orcas in Okisollo Channel, California sea lions and Harbour porpoises.
Saturday September 25
-After yesterday's storm it was good to go out again and we had sightings of 4 orcas, a humpback whale, Harbour porpoise, California sea lions and eagles. Also good sightings on the grizzly bear tour, we saw 5 in all.
Friday September 24
-The weather gods threw us a curb ball and we actually had to cancel both tours. Hoping the storm front will pass us soon.
Wednesday September 22
- Everyday is turning out to be a great day on our grizzly tours! Not only did the sun shine all day, we saw 16 bears during the tour! One of the momma bears and her cubs came out again, as well as several large males. Our guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves and got some amazing up-close photos. On the way over to Bute Inlet, we saw that massive group of 500 dolphins again! What a spectacular sight they are; so playful!
- We didn't have a whale tour scheduled for today but we did send out our 4hr marine wildlife safari. They saw a second, smaller group of dolphins as well as the ever-impressive California sea lions.
Tuesday September 21
- Our whale watch had to go all the way up to Blackfish Sound, but we were rewarded with excellent sightings of the resident A30s. On our way we came across about 500 dolphins (yes, believe it!!) and quite a number rode our bow wave!!! We saw a humpback whale, black bears and eagles, too! An all around great sightings day for our guests!
-Awesome day for the grizzly tour as well! We moved to tower 3, which has a different environment, and saw 19 bears altogether, including the familiar mom with two cubs, the mom with one cub (all one-year-olds) and a new mom with two cubs, which were born last year. Many sightings and all the time while we were there!! On the way up our guests could already enjoy lots of Dall's porpoise riding the bow (very acrobatic and playful at the moment!) and California sea lions are back also.
Monday September 20
-The whales were close again, we caught up with 8-10 transients right at Whiskey Point and followed them all the way to Mitlenatch. Also seals and eagles along the way.
- The river rose quite quickly with all the rain and the bears found the salmon all over the area and farther away. We had good sightings of both the females with three cubs in all and four more large male bears. On the way up we came across the transients at Mitlenatch and were able to spend some time with them. Half of our guest had never seen orcas before and they were thrilled. Also saw more eagles, their sightings increase with fall commencing.
Sunday September 19
- We saw 16 bears - and we had constant sightings, too. One momma with two cubs, another one with one cub, and on the way back to the dock we came across a herd of 10+ elks with very impressive antlers! And a group of 5 transients in Bute Inlet on the way back home. A spectacular day!!!
Friday September 17
-The heavy fog was slow to lift. However, we saw lots of Dall's porpoise today - they were even riding the bow wave of our boat for almost 15 minutes!!! Neat to watch and quite a rare occurrence since they are so elusive. Also lots of sea lions and seals to be seen.
Thursday September 16
-The whales were close by today, we found them shortly after departure at Mitlenatch Island and were able to spend more time with them than we could have hoped for.
-The grizzly bear tour was equally successful, we had first sightings right in Orford Bay before we even docked and saw 13 bears altogether. They have noticeably put on weight now and we are expecting our grizzly sightings to peak within the next couple weeks!!
Also, again great sightings of seals, sea lions and lots of Dall's and Harbour porpoises on the way. September is truly the best month in terms of sightings variety and wildlife numbers!
Wednesday September 15
- Our Whale Watch Safari found the whales close by at Seymore Narrows, 15 transients. The dolphins were the show stopper for our guests again, 150+, being playful and all. Also Dall's porpoises and right in the Passage on the Vancouver Island shoreline we caught sight of 2 black bears as well.
-On the grizzly bear tour saw 17 bears, including the mom with her cubs. Every day now their numbers increase. Our grizzly bear tour had a magic encounter on the way back: we came through Hole in the Wall, the fog had rolled back in and a rainbow spanned across the water from one side to the other. Then the sun started to break through, we noticed blows and suddenly out of the mist a pod of 15 orcas appeared, traveling towards us and it looked as if they were coming right out of the rainbow. It was simply breathtaking!
Tuesday September 14
-We found the A30s close to Blackfish Sound today, a pod of 12 residents. And as a special treat, we came across 2 pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, more than 400(!!!) in all. The first pod of about 100 just south of Browns Bay, the other pod, equal in size, up in Johnstone Strait. They are always a welcome sight with their playful nature and our guests are always delighted whenever we can find them. Even caught sight of the rather elusive porpoises again.
-The grizzly bear season is really peaking now!We saw 16 bears today, there was lots action - fishing, chasing, growling. We saw 3 driving up to tower 3 and 3 more right away when we got there. A female caught 2 salmon and a big male tried to chase her away, but he couldn't snatch them from her. 2 bald eagles close by waited to pick up the scabs.
As added bonus we saw lots of wildlife from the boat on the way up: a black bear mom and 2 cubs and at the mouth of Okisollo Channel we encountered a herd of 100+ dolphins, they were all around the boat, and the 5 were riding the bow wave, it was spectacular!!! Just off Sonora Island we saw 14 Steller sea lions and about 80 seals and then even Dall's porpoises, but we couldn't stop
for them anymore, we were getting late with all those great sightings. What a day!!!
Monday September 13
-We get excited about each successful trip, and this grizzly bear tour exceeded all previous in numbers and overall sightings. Started out with marine wildlife sightings of 14 Steller sea lions, Dall's and Harbour porpoises, seals and eagles on the cruise to Bute Inlet. As soon as we arrived at the towers, we saw the first grizzly, and then it was just bear after bear after bear - we had 15 (!!!) grizzly sightings in all. They kept coming in from everywhere and the longest we were without a grizzly was 10-15 minutes! The show was awe-inspiring!!! At the end even the mom came and brought her two cubs. There were two confrontations with males (they will try to kill the cubs for food). She charged and the one male left pretty much right away. The second male charging was a really big guy and she was quite aggressively charging him as well, and he, too, finally backed off.
Sunday September 12
-No whale watch out today, but we saw transient orcas on the Museum Tour, a welcome bonus for our guests.
-Our grizzly expedition had a good start with sightings of Dall's porpoises and 9 Steller sea lions on the way to Bute Inlet. We had 6 bear sightings: 2 were at the salmon spawning stream which is the favourite patch of the massive male, and sure enough he was there today to scoop up some salmon! We saw 3 more at tower 5 where you can spot them appearing out of the far mist and 'walzing' towards you. And finally the last one right on the road. We rounded out the day with sightings of Harbour porpoises on the way back to the Campbell River.
Saturday September 11
-The grizzly bear tour was blessed right from the start. We saw whales at the east side of Quadra Island where we briefly teamed up with our sister ship Tenacious III and watched the transients, the T100s for some time. Then it was off towards our destination Bute Inlet and close by the Rendevouz Islands we came upon a school of dolphins. They had two tiny young ones with them and were heavily feeding, holding the group together tightly.
-We found the T100s, lead by big T102, just south of Cortez Island and followed them to Mitlenatch Island and back up along the east side of Quadra Island to Rebecca Spit. Seal sightings were great as well, we found about 100+ and of all places we saw about a dozen bald eagles right at Heriot Bay dock. Also caught up with a school of pacific white-sided dolphins just south of Stuart Island.
Arriving at Orford Bay, we caught sight of the young female with her two cubs even before we had docked! We saw another larger female almost immediately once we entered the viewing area and the young mom brought her cubs back as well. They stayed with us for the balance of our visit and we were treated to witness the "family life" and teaching of the young. The vocalization and playfulness of the cubs was absolutely captivating and the female was quite cooperative and relaxed. Our guests hardly noticed the steady, light rain that dominated the better part of the day, but certainly enjoyed the the well-deserved final lunch break and hot coffee in the cozy warmth of the heated cabin on the way back.
Thursday September 9
-We found T102 and 3 others at Hole in the Wall and were able to follow them all the way up the Dent Rapids. We saw seals and lots of eagles in the rapids and along the way.
- You want to see Grizzlies, you say? Well, how much excitement can you actually digest!?! "Best grizzly tour so far!!" is the consensus for today. That is not just described by sheer numbers (8!), but by closeness and drama! BIG "Mr. Scarface" just 10 feet away, looking straight into your eyes - this is when you actually realize how BIG THEY are and how SMALL YOU are! And then, there were grizzlies all over, everywhere! This is what our Grizzly Bear Tours are all about - taking excitement to a new level! Nevermind, to top it up, we encountered orcas along the travel and seals and eagles... now, what an experience is that!!!
Wednesday September 8
-It was a bit foggy on our way up to Crafton Point this morning, but when it cleared and the sun came out in all her glory, there they were: 20+ residents orcas! Our old friends the A30s and I31. They were milling and foraging on salmon and amongst them pacific white-sided dolphins and porpoises.
-The bear trip was also great! On our way into Bute Inlet we saw a sea lion throw a salmon around for a few minutes then swallow it whole!!! Then we were rewarded with 5 GREAT Grizzly Bear sightings!! They were running after fish and wandering the shores of the river, all in all it was a spectacular day!
Tuesday September 7
- The grizzlies continue to amaze our guests. We saw 8 of them today, 4 large males and 4 females, including the mom with her 2 cubs. We saw one male chase the other one ferociously away to stake its claim over a salmon.
Saturday September 4
-Our best Orca show yet! 3 solid hours of Transient orcas breeching just South of Cape Mudge!! They were showing off their acrobatics, flipping, spinning, jumping, slapping their pectoral and tail fins and just having a lot of fun! There was also a new baby with them (still orangish in colour meaning he/she is probably only a month or two old)!!!
-The fish are back in the Orford River and the bears are chasing them!! Our guests loved getting up-close and personal with the majestic Grizzly Bear (from the safety of the viewing platform of course...)!
Friday September 3
- We had no trips out today but we heard there was a lot of wildlife out there to be seen.
Thursday September 02
- We did not have to go far today - we found the whales just sout east of Cape Mudge, a pod of 7 transients and then two more behind Read Island. They were milling around and had a few seals.
- The grizzlies were a bit scarce, only one sighting. We are hoping for a bit more rain so the sockeye can make their way up the river. And that will get the grizzlies down to the river to scoop up some fish - for sure!!!
Wednesday September 1
- After yesterday's wild weather, today was a beautiful day to go whale watching. We managed to see 8 transients just East of Camp Point and they were surpirsingly vocal. An indication that they just had successfully completed a kill and were not required to remain silent in order to stalk their prey, which, most likely, had been an unfortunate seal.
- Our Grizzly Bear Tour guests were able to watch 6 bears today also. Up close and personal with the mighty grizzly!