Friday, October 31, 2008

Zodiac Adventure Oct 29

October continues to be a great month for observing whales. Wednesday, October 29th's Zodiac trip at 1pm was no exception. Skipper Mark, 'Mallard' took us out west along the picturesque shoreline of Metchosin and Sooke, Vancouver Island. We took in the sights and sounds of this beautiful coastline. Our search for local wildlife found different colour morphs of Harbour Seal, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Heron and many Bonaparte's Gull dipping and diving over the water. We turned south at Secretary Rock and headed into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to find the two Humpback whales that had been reported. We soon located them and spent time watching these huge animals move slowly through the water. They were seen dragging bull kelp over their pectoral flippers and dorsal fin. It was interesting to watch these giants, of 35-45ft in length and 40+ tons move so gracefully while foraging. On one ocassion these curious Humpbacks swam toward us, thrilling all our visitors on board. Then they would disappear below after raising their 'flukes' for a deep dive. We spent time admiring these incredible creatures, knowing that they were on their migration to either Hawaii or Mexico. A visit to Race Rocks gave our passengers views of Steller Sea Lion. Although the weather was less than ideal, it was stll an amazing west coast trip once again. Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Zodiac Adventure Oct 28

It was truly to be a '' Magical '' 10am Zodiac trip this Tuesday, Oct 28th. We left the inner harbour, under some what cloudy skies and headed straight south into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. After a short run Mark, our experienced Skipper, stopped to look around with his binocular. Off in the distance south of Race Rocks at Constance Bank , three Humpback whales could be seen. We headed toward these behemoths, huge ballen whales plying the smooth waters of the Strait. We hadn't gone far when suddenly we were surrounded by southern resident whales that were identified as K pod. Even L 87, ' Onyx ' was with this group once again. The baby K 42 , was swimming close to its sibling K 36, while mother, K 14 was busy foraging. Lobo,K 26, a young male surprised us as he swam close by. We had good looks at these illusive whales as they headed south east. We then headed toward the Humpbacks. These giants were actively feeding and ''fluking '' with their huge tails as they made their deep dives looking for small fish and krill. Skipper Mark gave an indepth account of the marine life found in these waters. Our international travellers from as far away as South Africa, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Britain all enjoyed a quick trip to Race Rocks to see the Harbour seals and the two types of sea lion, Steller and California. We even found a Herring Gull enjoying the very calm waters among the kelp beds. With big smiles on our faces, we headed back to the harbour. Truly an amazing encounter with the whales in October. Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ocean Magic Adventure Oct 26

The Ocean Magic 12.15pm trip on Sunday Oct 26th, headed out of the harbour and turned east past the breakwater. With Captain Tyler, Sean and Mika, our expert Naturalists on board, we were in for a real treat this sunny, Autumn day. Although there was a brisk wind and chop on the water, our international visitors had a beautiful experience encountering whales. We headed across Haro Strait and found K pod, one of our resident, fish eating Orca pods, swimming close in shore off San Juan Island. They were heading north for much of the time and then turned south. They appeared to be foraging at times. Throughout the trip our experienced crew shared a wealth of knowledge with our visitors. Their account of marine life in these nutrient rich waters enhanced what was to be, a most delightful trip. Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zodiac Adventure Oct 26

The 11 am Zodiac Adventure set out of Victoria's Picturesque Inner Harbor. Skipper James "Radar" had us headed east in search of whales. We worked our way across Haro Strait over to San Juan Island. Here we found members of K Pod working along the coastline. These mighty Orca made there way past us as we drifted silently on the clear waters of Haro Strait. We took in the sights and sounds of these amazing animals in their natural habitat. James took the time to pass on a wealth of knowledge on Orca behavior and answered all questions. It was a great adventure on the waters of the Pacific Northwest.
Photos by Clint "Orcawizard"

Zodiac Adventure Oct 25

Our 11am Zodiac Adventure was set against sunny skies and calm seas. Skipper Mark "Mallard" took us east to San Juan Island, to a small island called Whale Rock. Here we observed Stellar Sea Lions and abundance of Cormorants an Gulls. We scouted the west side of San Juan Island up to Lime Kiln Lighthouse were we caught up with some very energetic Dall's Porpoise. These spirited Porpoise put on a great show tearing through the sea and riding beside the boat. The 2pm Adventure took us to Hein Bank where we caught up with a pair of Humpback Whales. These two majestic whales were slowly traveling along, fluking each time they took a deep dive. Such gentle giants of the sea. We then took a quick trip to San Juan Island and caught up with Orca. The Killer Whales of K Pod. They were spotted off Eagle Point and were headed north along the coastline. We watched them working their way along feeding as they went. Such a great time was spent with them in the sparkling waters of the pacific northwest.
Photos by Clint "Orcawizard"

Zodiac Adventure Oct 23

Our 1pm Zodiac trip, skippered by Mark, Thursday Oct 23rd, took us out west on a beautifully calm day. We had heard of a Grey Whale reported at Crescent Beach, Washington State. We crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Canadian side having searched for possible Orca that might be hugging the Metchosin, Sooke shoreline. Alas none were found. Out on the water many gull species were collecting at bait-balls. Pelagic cormorants were observed flying from one location to another. Rafts of Common Murres were also seen during the crossing. We found the lone, rather small, Grey Whale foraging in shallow waters of 35-50ft within Crescent Beach. It would take two to three breaths at the surface before arching slightly to show its ridges along the top of the tail stock, then sink below to the sandy bottom. We spent some time watching this whale before heading to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve to observe the Steller Sea Lions. It was a beautiful day in one of the most picturesque places on the west coast.
Photos by Marie :Orca-Magic"