Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ocean Magic Adventure; Sealions & humpbacks

Todays weather was an amazing opposite of yesterday. Sunny, and once in the sun, warm. We immediately headed out into the Juan de Fuca Strait in search of our humpback whales friends. We did a large sweep but didn't find anyone. We ventured out to William Head, Race Rocks and Constance Bank but no one was home! On route some stellar sealions were wake riding our boat, that was a first for many of us, quite beautiful. Passengers also got a glimpse of some Dalls porpoise who rode along side of us. Stay tuned for photos from Marie and Clint. After passing Race Rocks ecological reserve where many pinnipeds were located, we got word of humpbacks east. We were close to the end of our trip however we made a quick turn around. We found one humpback, unknown name but thought to be either BCX1057 or BCX0870. The individual was kelping when arrived, then passed our boat very close giving passengers a thrilling encounter. The trip ended with a picture perfect tail fluke on route to a long dive.

We held our breath through the trip, holding out hope for our humpback whale friends to appear and they did. We are so grateful for them and love the fact they return year after year to feed and socialize in our back yard =)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ocean Magic: Porpoises, Humpbacks, Sealions

Today's trip was very interesting! We headed out in a typical overcast day to find a very large school of harbour porpoises milling in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This was exciting for me as I had not seen any all year, and especially for Captain Anna Hall who is studying these little cetaceans. See video above for that. Not far from this large school were 2 humpbacks. When we first arrived, we found what we thought was "Heather" (will provide the number soon) with "Bart" traveling rather quickly. Heather was logging while traveling, so she swam quite a distance not fluking or diving but keeping her dorsal fin exposed the whole time. They were joined by a curious sealion who also checked us out (see photos). When the animals were together there was lots of activity; head stands, fluking, pec slapping, rolling, etc. At one point the animals past our stern and breached 2 times! The first one is "Bart" the second one I think could be "Heather". At one point we witnessed Bart swimming backwards when playing with the sealion! After an incredible viewing of the humpbacks, we checked out our favorite ecological reserve; Race Rocks. Many of the pinnipeds were hauled out on the rocks. The growling Stellars and the barking Californians. Today's trip left a perma grin on everyone's faces!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure Oct 19

With Capt. Tyler in the wheel-house and Biologist Mika on board the 12.15 'Ocean Magic'
we were sure to find some of those black and white marine mammals that hadn't been seen lately. It was flat calm on the water today, warm with some sunshine so finding wildlife should be easy if around. Sure enough, two Orca surfaced south of Victoria, near Constance Bank. These two apex predators, Transient Killer whales were identified as T 87, a male and T 88 a female travelling together. They were probably mother and son. It was learned that they had already made a kill before we encountered them, so we watched them as they zig-zagged around taking long dives. There were groups of sea lions swimming around which is one of the Transient Orca's main food source, but these two whales, didn't appear to be chasing them. During our trip we saw a huge bait-ball where hundreds of gulls congregated. California and Heermann's gulls were two species identified. A visit to Race Rocks gave us good looks at California and Steller Sea Lions as they jockeyed for position on favourite rocks. An interesting small craft caught our eye near this location with its bright yellow paint , solar panels and small wind turbines set aloft. Was this someones answer to going 'Green?' Conditions were perfect for our guests to enjoy a most informative wildlife trip once again.
Marie, Orca-Magic.

The following was captured by Orca Girl;

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure Oct 18

Our Sunday Oct 18 Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure was amazing Capt. Anna slipped the Ocean Magic out of Victoria's inner harbour and out into the open water. She had us headed south west to a report of a Humpback Whale. It was not long before we spotted the Humpback. It breached out of the water and made a tremendous splash, then a second breach. This Humpback Whale known as "Bart" put on a great show for our passengers as he splashed in the water. Our next stop was Whirl Bay where we saw two Bald Eagles perched up high. Our crew of Mika and Derek kept us all informed of the wonders of our West Coast wildlife. We then took a tour of Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and took in the huge numbers of Sea Lions. We observed Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and many birds. October is a wonderful time for Wildlife Viewing with Prince of Whales!
Clint "Orcawizard"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure Oct 16

'Our wildlife adventures continue on the luxury vessel, the Ocean Magic 2 . It is now well into October and the weather isn't always as sunny as we would like it to be. Still that doesn't affect the wildlife and there is plenty to be seen, whether sun, cloud or rain. Our expert crew Capt. Tyler, Anna, Mika and Derrek headed our guests on board the 12.15pm, Friday Oct. 16th 'Ocean Magic ', out of the harbour and out west insearch of marine mammals. We came upon, Dalls' and Harbour Porpoise that were not too playful, so sightings were brief, however a lone Steller Sea Lion thought were a curious bunch so headed over to take a look. This was a close encounter. We headed further out west and over to the USA side if the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the keen eyes of Mika, our biologist on board, spotted two Humpback whales that were in travelling mode.They were heading further out west. Our time with these huge whales was soon over so we headed toward the rugged coastline of Vancouver Island in search of possible Transient Orca, but found none. We also viewed Steller, and California Sea Lions at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve, where their growling and barking could be heard. Naturally, when hundreds of these male 'pinnipeds' are gathered together there is a distinct odour which leaves a lasting memory of some of the sights, sounds, and smells of this wonderfully rich part of the west coast, of British Columbia. Another great wildlife trip.
Marie, Orca-Magic