Thursday, October 26, 2006
Prince of Whales guest Marie O'Shaunghnessy sent us her photos from that day. In absence of the OM documenter, it's nice to have something to fill in the gaps! Thanks for letting us showcase your lovely experience! And see you again soon!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Today we were delighted to be closely visited by 4 humpback whales (I believe 2 mothers and 2 calves)! That's right, they made their way over to our boat on their own accord - twice!. It is obvious that wherever they have been or where ever they are going, that they are "friendly" whales and probably spend much time around boats on their travels. Our guidelines are strict, we are prohibited from approaching the animals within 100 meters and always set up more than 400 meters away, however these guys certainly wanted to check us out! Can't say I am complaining about that, and 4 of them too! It was truly spectacular, I have never in my whole life been that close to a humpback whale let alone 4 of them! Guests onboard today’s ocean magic were given the experience of a lifetime. Not only that but also a mother and calf pair were milling about with a group of stellar sea lions in pursuit of fish I assume! AMAZING!!!! Quite frankly we are blessed to have these creatures return to our waters after decades of empty seas due to commercial whaling wiping them out completely. I feel blessed and am grateful to see them residing in our homeland waters. What a gift.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
On today’s Ocean Magic II trip we headed south of Victoria to view a mother-calf pair of Humpback whales. The fog had a high ceiling so we could see the animals for quite a far distance. We then headed over to San Juan Island to view J pod, one of the southern resident, fish-eating, killer whale family groups. The whales were foraging near Salmon Bank and taking rests at the surface after pursuing prey. We could hear the whales communicating and using echolocation to navigate and search for salmon.
Today was BRISK to say the very least but that didn't stop any of us from getting out there to see what mother nature has in store. First we heard of several humpbacks in the area, feeding in the Juan de Fuca Strait and sure enough we found a mother and calf humpback pair. We watched them dive several times and then headed off into the fog of Haro Strait. On our way we saw some young stellar sealions milling about. Today was overcast, cold and foggy which means most of us wished we'd brought our gloves ;).
We arrived to find Jpod widely spread and milling somewhere near San Juan Island but it was really foggy to see where we were exactly. Off in the distance was a couple of orcas, logging and double spyhopping often. There was alot of surface scanning, lazy spyhops and rubbing behavior between the two before moving on. They hung out together for most of our time on scene, about half an hour. Yup, it might be fall out there but that doesn't mean there isn't an abundance of wildlife to be experienced!
Technical note: Today I shot my photos at 800 iso (i always shoot at 400 iso), to compensate for the very low light and fog. Therefore, the photos may be grainer / noisier than usual.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Reports of killer whales lead the noon Ocean Magic II trip east towards the San Juan Islands. We stopped in the middle of Haro Strait to view a group of Dall’s porpoises. The animals were milling about the area slowly. Then near Henry Island we spotted a Minke whale heading south about a half mile from shore we could hear the southern residents in the distance through the hydrophone. Deeper into Open Bay we met up with J pod and Ruffles / J1 was leading the group southwest. Granny / J2 was not far behind her son and the rest of the animals were traveling at a good pace, some porpoising, and chasing fish along the way. Some were very dramatic high-speed pursuits with lots of whales cartwheeling into the air. Polaris / J26 and Blackberry / J27 were identified among the whales. The family was using vocal calls and echolocation clicks.
Today was another score with Jpod in the area. Found them traveling near Open Bay. They traveled in small groups along the shoreline and were spread out for miles into Haro Strait. The animals were in high speed travel at times and feeding at other times. Lots of cartwheeling going on. Ruffles / J1 was traveling on his own, as we usually see him, with his mother Granny / J2 not far from him. Mothers and babies passed by in pairs, sometimes in groups of 3 or 4. Blackberry / J27 was seen cruising close to the shoreline. Earlier in the trip we spotted several Dalls porpoise including a mother and calf. Today was a lovely day on the water, we've been blessed with lovely weather, calm seas and plenty of whale sightings!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The Ocean Magic II afternoon trip lead us south of Victoria to view Humpback whales. There were two mother calf pairs a couple miles apart circling near Constance Bank. The mother-calf bond is the strongest in Humpback whale society. Females will have one calf every two to three years and they are about 13 feet long and weigh two tons at birth. A group of Steller sea lions were nearby foraging on the schools of salmon. We then headed over to Race Rocks to view sea lions hauled out resting on the rocks. There were lots of Stellers and the California sea lions were on their favorite boat ramp area. Brant’s cormorants were lined up on the rocky edges fanning and drying their wings in the air.