Friday, August 19, 2011
Orca, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Dall's Porpoises and Harbour Popoises.
Humpback Whale Entangled in Georgia Strait. A couple of days ago, a Humpback Whale was spotted close to Gabriola Island dragging crabbing gear behind it heading up the Strait. As of a few hours ago, no-one has spotted the whale. There has been a Humpback seen in the upper Georgia Strait, but no mention or queries about any lines or gear on it. Please keep your eyes open, and if you spot any gear dragging behind a Humpback please call the Marine Mammal Response incident reporting Hotline at: 1-800-465-4336 immediately. And, of course, I'd love an update too please drop me an email with any details.
Both yesterday morning and this morning, fog made finding any whale in the upper Johnstone Strait, and above areas difficult, to say the least. There were times, during the drifting banks of fog, that seeing the bow of the boat was a bonus. It was one of those days that happen frequently when we get really calm and sunny (in the afternoon) weather. Listening for the whale blows or dropping the hydrophone to hear them, if they're 'talking', is the 'whales by braille' (this is an affectionate term, no disrespect to anyone) method. There's also the appearing / disappearing target on the radar. It's always a debate; is it a whale, log hiding in between waves, or a small boat that doesn't give a good reflection for the radar to pick up? No reports from the Sunshine Coast indicated any fog.
Sightings: Orca, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Dall's Porpoises and Harbour Popoises.
Susan MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
Northern Resident Orca
8 am Reports of possible Orca in or around Beaver Cove, outside Telegraph Cove and some by the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. No direction, No numbers, No visibility! SM
9 am Sounds like some Orca were by Cracroft Point and headed along Hanson Island and / or up Blackfish Sound. The blows could be heard, but no-one could actually find them in the fog till
9:30 am Some of the I's were identified through vocals more than visuals till the fog lifted and throughout the day, there were a couple of groups of Resident Orca that went between Malcolm Island and the Penfold Islets, Queen Charlotte Strait. See also the Minke report around 1 pm. They were left still milling about around 5 pm. SM
10 am Some Orca were spotted foraging and Westbound by Camp Point, just above Campbell River.
By 1:15 pm these 8 or 9 Resident Orca, still Westing, were by the old BC Ferry, now used as a logging camp, in mid-Johnstone Strait.
7 am Orca reports seemed to come in from every direction in the drifting banks of fog. Some Orca were out by Donagal Head, Malcolm Island foraging then heading West. Some more Orca were already by Lizard Point doing the same, foraging and heading West. Some other Orca were Eastbound down Blackfish Sound, while yet another group were already by Cracroft Point. By 10 am the majority had made it into the Bight, as far as the Eastern boundary, yet quite spread out as well as on the rubbing beaches. All in all, it was a very confusing morning with Orca spread out everywhere. SM
10 am A Southbound Humpback Whale was spotted near Camp Point.
8:30 am Morning fog seems to echo whale blows, and Humpbacks have large blows! Once the fog lifted, the total count of Humpback Whales seen at one time was 9 in the Blackfish Sound, bottom of Queen Charlotte Strait area. But, during the day there were Humpback whales seen at Bold Head, Plumper Islands, Fife Sound, Polkinghorne Island, Whitecliffe Islets and Cracroft Point areas. Last report I heard over the radio was at Cracroft Point at around 7 pm.
8 am 5 Humpback Whales were feeding on krill by Bold Head. There were two Mom's with calves plus one other adult.
9 am A Humpback, I'm pretty sure is the one known as 'Pulteney' who is now around 7 to 8 years old, was actively feeding by Crib Island, Broughton's. There were an astronomical number of Rhinocerous Auklets – yes, I want to say billions and billions!
Other Humpbacks were seen throughout the day – see above report for areas they seem to prefer.
8:45 pm till too dark to see it anymore, a Humpback Whale was feeding in phosphorescent waters by the kelp beds just outside my anchorage at Polkinghorne Island.
Around 1 pm 2 Minke Whales that had been feeding on the QC Strait side of Malcolm Island took off in a hurry when some Orca showed up. Guess they weren't sure if these were Transient or Resident Orca, so better safe than sorry. They were clocked at 11 knots and porpoising as quickly as possible to get out of there towards Donagal Head when they finally settled down. They must have heard some of the Resident vocals.
Bill MacKay, MacKay Whale Watching
8:20 am Sointula to Alert Bay water taxi trip by James, Rainbow Chaser saw a Minke Whale briefly.
Pacific White Sided Dolphins
Around 1 pm 20 Pacific White Sided Dolphins were headed West by St. Vincent Bight.
Throughout the days: Small groups of 2 to 8 Dall's Porpoises seem to be foraging in every location – they are truly spread out. SM
While watching a Humpback I kept hearing these smaller puffs. I finally found the source, a Mom and calf Harbour Porpoise. They too were feeding on the small fish the birds and Humpback were eating.