Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Zodiac Adventure Mar 29

It was another one of those special and great encounters with the illusive Orca today. Our 12 noon Zodiac trip headed out of the harbour with our experienced and knowledgeable Skipper ' Mark ' at the controls. The weather was picture perfect with blue skies and sunshine. The majestic Olympic Mountains of Washington State were standing tall and impressive. Our search for the Orca took us 5 miles south of Trial Island and east. After an exhaustive look, we came up empty. It wasn't until we headed west toward Race Rocks that we encountered the playful 'Transients'. Mark identified them at the T49A's and the T30's. At first we saw them cartwheeling, porpoising and spy-hopping off in the distance. They soon saw us and headed our way. They were very playful and many different behaviours were observed all around us. At times our international guests, from Australia, Germany, France and Manitoba could see them beneath the waves. This was an amazing experience for all on board the '' Yellow Zodiac'' of Prince of Whales. Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Zodiac Adventure Mar 26

Our wildlife adventure at 1pm with Prince of Whales, took us out west this afternoon. The yellow Zodiac with our experienced Skipper, Mark 'Mallard' at the controls, headed past the breakwater and out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here we would search for those illusive mammals, the Orca. The abundant wildlife, Bald Eagles, sea birds, Harbour Seals, Steller Sea Lions and Blacktail Deer were seen as we toured the many bays of the rugged coast line of Vancouver Island. Just as we began our return trip toward Victoria, a call came in that 6 Transient Orca had been seen, so our guests from England, Ontario, and parts of the USA, were able to observe these magical creatures heading east . A large bull, male Orca, T10B was identified with other members of his family. Although the skies were grey, the sea conditions were exceptional. It was another great, wildlife adventure here on the west coast.
Photos by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Zodiac Adventure Mar 21

Our 10am Zodiac Adventure had us headed west to the southern tip of Vancouver Islands rugged coastline. Here our veteran skipper Mark "Mallard" took us on a tour of the marine wildlife found in our west coast waters. Our first stop was to visit two Bald Eagles atop their nest in Whirl Bay. These apex predators are common to the coastal areas of Vancouver Island. Mark then spotted a family of River Otters. These frisky little guys were working the shoreline for food, swimming along the rough rocky shoreline. Our search more marine wildlife took us to Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve. Here we found a small colony of Steller Sea Lions. Race Rocks is a favorite haul out for these large marine mammals. Yet another great west coast wildlife adventure with Prince Of Whales. Photos by Clint "Orcawizard"

Zodiac Adventue Mar 19

The thrill of an adventure on the west coast is heating up, not only weather wise but out there on those emerald seas. The cold, nutrient rich waters of the Pacific North West are so full of life that the seas appear green in this location. Today, our two 'Prince of Whales' Zodiacs, with skippers Mark and James at the controls, left the harbour at 1pm under fair skies and very calm water. We had received a tip that an Orca had been seen earlier in the day so headed south and west toward Race Rocks, a protected Marine Reserve. Here we saw Steller Sea Lions and Harbour Seals lounging on their favourite rocks. It wasn't long before we encountered 5 Transient Orca, marine mammal hunters, that appeared to be foraging slowly east of Race Rocks. These top predators were identified as the T30 family group, and a lone female, T172. The young calf, T 30C was particularly active with waving its 'fluke' high in the air. Our knowledgeable skippers, Mark and James, shared their love of Orca with our international guests from Ireland, Russia, Germany, and Canadian Provinces. It was another exciting, and magical encounter with the Orca. Our guests were thrilled with their west coast adventure.
Photo's by Marie "Orca-Magic"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Zodiac Adventure Mar 18

March continues to be a good month to head out in one of the 'Prince of Whales ' bright yellow Zodiacs, to experience some of the awesome marine mammals and bird life found along the west coast. On board the 1pm Zodiac, with Skipper Mark at the controls, we had visitors from Germany, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario. Although the weather at this time of year is not always sunny, one can anticipate having a good time soaking up the incredible view of the Olympic mountains of Washington, USA that border one side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca while the rugged, rocky coast of Vancouver Island borders the other. Today, Bald Eagles perched on their nests were observed, as well as many colour morphs of Harbour Seals lounging on rocks. A visit to Race Rocks found Steller and one California Sea Lion jockeying for position at the crest of a large rock. Unfortunately, the Orca remained illusive so after an exhaustive search we headed back to the harbour and found two more 'Prince of Whales' trips heading out to enjoy the sights and sounds of the west coast.
Photo's by Marie "Orca-Magic"