Sunday, July 31, 2005
I was not on the water today, but for a short time joined Corey on the whale spotting cliff at Walbran Park and watched two humpbacks - thought to be mother and calf out in the middle of Juan De Fuca Strait. Heard there was a third, possibly a male closer to Race Rocks, and earlier today they were grouped up. Corey said he'd seen some breaching earlier on today. Mount Baker was also very clear and got a nice view of that. Corey told us that JKL pods were out of range for 90% of the fleet (at east point), so they took in the humpbacks out in the Juan De Fuca Strait. I have to admit I am pretty excited about the fact that we've had humpbacks here this summer and can't wait to get a better look at these three. See the Be Whale Wise blog, for some excellent shots that Rachael got yesterday while monitoring at Race Rocks.
For some OUTSTANDING photos of the humpbacks, please see Mike Grace's of Great Pacific Adventures
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Ok. So the entire clan of orcas (minus the L12's who went west yesterday) was traveling south to San Juan Island - to where they will feed for the evening. Our first glimpse (south of Turn Point I believe) was of a couple of high speed porpoising orcas, and then we realized there was a calf in high persuit of a salmon. Some on board got a head on view of the calf with the fish hanging out of the mouth where i'd missed that while trying to set up a shot. (cries). But that's ok! We got our eye full while many more orca - while quite spread open - traveled at super high speed down the strait. Watching groups of 3&4 speed porpoising (above photos), more high speed hunting persuit (above photo) - one right before us and a double breach which was a treat (photos above). We ended our trip today with a few nice wide angle passes of L57 Faith (at Kelp reef) who was one of the last to make it down. Wow, the whales were spread the whole span of the Haro Strait while coming south, my first time seeing this kind of migration.
Friday, July 29, 2005
We didn't have to travel far this morning to find some whales. We met up with some of Lpod - 6 individuals heading west from Haro Strait. They had just passed Trial Island and were traveling at a good clip. We assumed the others were already quite far ahead - but as to who not sure. We watched L71 Hugo pass by the waterfront off of Victoria. As they got closer to Esquimalt they grouped up into 3. I assume that L71 Hugo was traveling with his immediate family - perhaps mother and sister since there was two females with him. Did manage to see one animal who appeared to be sprouting but need confirmation on who it was. Before heading home we stopped in at Race Rocks where we saw several Pinnipeds; Stellars, Californias and Elephant seals, one who was hauled right up at the foot of the light house :). Ps I took the photo of the container ship on our way to see the whales, thought it was kinda cool.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Today my friend Yan who is a professional videographer joined us on the 5 Star catamaran. We arrived on this beautiful sunny morning to San Juan Island and found the L12's spread wide apart travelling back and forth. We saw L41 / Mega as he passed by heading north. We spent much of our time observing L79 / Skana and saw some lovely passes of him and at times with his mother L22 / Spirit. At one point he stopped to hunt, lifting his tail flukes well out of the water a few times (sorry no photo). We'd heard that Jpod is still around Active Pass area this morning. On our way home, we were very excited and surprized to see a mother and new baby Dalls porpoise. I managed to get a decent baby photo or two :). We also saw lots of sea birds such as cormorants, common murres, rhinocerous auklets as well as many gulls.
ps. the top splash image is from the catamarans wash at the stern of the boat.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Today we arrived at San Juan Island to find the L12's traveling and milling about. Saw L79 / Skana traveling (top two photos) as well as another small group. The animal's behavior was low key for most of the trip however near the end things kicked up. L41 / Mega gave us a spectacular pass (see surfacing series above), while a female was doing belly rolls (see photo above), cart wheels, spy hops and breaches. As we were leaving, I had this funny feeling someone was going to jump out of the water and they did. A bit far away but that's ok, it still was a beautiful moment. We were also lucky to see some Dall's porpoise milling about on our way home. Today was warm and sunny, a perfect day for a journey on the ocean.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Today was beautiful on the water. When we arrived at San Juan Island, we found the L12's very widely spread. At times they grouped into 3's and 4's however spent most of their time milling and traveling alone. We did hear on the radio that there was some good breaching action going on however we did not see it. Early on, a young calf passed by our boat making a farting sound (see above photo) out of his blow hole and then spy hopped (above photo). We saw several females swimming independently and one even stopped to play in some kelp (see photo above). We could see Faith L57 and Skana L79 off in the distance, and on our way home, we saw a beautiful pass of Skana L79 (see photo) and then just when we were leaving, he breached right befor the boat however many of us missed the photo op. Today I got confirmation that J42 didn't make it. I suppose it only lived a couple of days.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
As we departed the inner harbour this afternoon, we got word of many groups of orcas coming in from the west. Since the L12's were the only group foraging at San Juan Island today and yesterday, that meant it could be the rest of the southern residents and it was. We found ourselves in an adventurous west coast ride when we found the animals south of Otter Point. We saw just about every behavior possible; multiple breaches (although i missed them :( ), cartwheels, tail slaps, pec slaps, belly rolls, spyhops, speed porpoising, friskyness (L57 / Faith - see above photo), and high persuit hunting. When the water kicks up a bit, the animals are very active and what a show it was! On the way home we were delighted to find 4 Stellar sea lions basking in the sun at Race Rocks.