Have You Seen Any of These?

Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunshine and Whales Last Report of 2010

What a marvelous way to end 2010. The sun was out, the seas were calm and we had whales in front of Powell River!

Over the past few days I had seen some blows and even spotted a couple of dark backs, but with whale sightings, timing is everything, and I could not confirm the type of whales I saw. I did believe them to be Humpbacks due to the size of the blows and not seeing dorsal fins. With the rougher seas, I was not able to call it. But, today was another story....

After some minor repairs to my steering, I made it out on the water with 7 and possibly 8 Transient Orca just out in front of Powell River. There were many, many, seagulls picking up the scraps as these Transients fed on sea lions. I'm sure from underneath, the fish were also able to have some snacks. Photos are of Orca with sea lion flipper and a large male, both looking towards Texada Island. Actual sightings list is below.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Dec 31: 7 to possibly 8 Transient Orca close to the Powell River Ferry terminal and harbour. From 11:15am till 3:15pm - I left them heading towards Sentry Shoal and Mitlenatch Island out past Harwood Island, blows visible for miles in the sun.

Dec 30: Not much time to look, but quick scans revealed nothing and no reports coming in.

Dec 29: Two to Four large blows and some dark backs between Texada and Rebecca Rocks - again couldn't confirm since it was from 4pm till it was too dark to see.

Dec 24, Dec 26: Two (possibly more) large blows between Texada and Harwood Islands a couple of times during the day. Did get a call about numerous sea lions in front of Powell River southbound and playing on Dec 26th.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Dec 4, 2010 Orca from J Pod

Wishing you and yours
All the Best of the Holidays
and the New Year !

Dec 19 to 23 - There have been no sightings forwarded or seen over the past few days. I must admit, scanning time has also been minimal due to the rush of the season. Hope yours is a Merry one.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sightings Dec 11 to Dec 18

Dec 18 - Lots of birds out just past Rebecca Rocks. Looked as if there were some splashes and even thought I saw a couple of low blows, but nothing confirmed, I'm afraid.

It's been a slow few days for any sightings. My scanning of the water has also been reduced and intermittent due to the push to complete things prior to the holidays.

Although it's a late report, there have been many Pacific White Sided Dolphins in the Porpoise Bay area in Sechelt Inlet on Dec. 6th. Some kayakers were lucky enough to spend some time with them as well as get some photographs. The photos can be viewed through Sechelt's The Local Weekly newspaper in their Archived Dec.9th issue.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Whale / Dolphin Sightings Dec 7 to Dec 10

Although I have been scanning the waters occasionally during the days, I'm afraid I have no whale, dolphin or porpoise sightings to report for these three days. There were also no reports submitted to me from anyone.

Dec 10 There were hundreds of birds just out past Rebecca Rocks, between Harwood and Texada Islands. There were what looked like splashes, but could easily have been the way the light bounced off the birds.

Regarding the Dec. 6th Orca whale sightings off of Grief Point, from the photos passed on to me, they were, in fact "J" pod. I managed to confirm that J26 was in the mix.

Of interest, as far as Hummingbirds go, I believe the number I now have coming to the feeder is 5. Three females and two males.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Orca / Killer Whale Sightings Dec 5 and 6

Although I had been checking out the window regularly, I missed them, but reports are in:

Dec 5 - Approx. 20 - 30 Orca / Killer Whales were spotted by Black Point, just south of Powell River heading in a Northerly direction at around 12pm.

Dec 6 - 13 Orca / Killer Whales were spotted off of Grief Point, Powell River heading in a Northerly direction around 11am.

Dec 6 - Approx. 4-6 Dalls porpoises or Pacific White Sided Dolphins were wake riding with a fishing boat then left towards Atrevida Reef, north of Powell River at 9:15 am.

As I mentioned in my comment to the last posting, the Dec 4th Orcas were from the Southern Residents "J" Pod with confirmed J16, J17, J28 and possibly J36.

The question arises: Are these the same whales traveling around Texada Island, or do they sneak back down the Powell River side at night?

Thanks for the calls and emails with the reports. As always, they are logged and reported to the Cetacean Sightings Network for posting to their central data bank so that the movements of these whales, dolphins and porpoises can be tracked.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Killer Whales / Orca Sightings and Dolphin Update

Dec 4 - Exciting day! Around 10:30am Orca were spotted around Black Point, just south of Powell River. By 12pm they were rounding Grief Point and in front of Powell River. By 2:30 they picked up the pace and headed West, out towards Vancouver Island. Campbell River people should keep their eyes open.

The weather had smartened up and not only did we have calm seas and sunshine, there was a large number of Orca / Killer Whales to get out with. I made it out there, joined by a neighbour to get some identification photos. They were very spread out from Texada to Harwood Islands as well as closer to the Powell River shore so a definitive count was impossible. We did manage to determine that there were definitely over 20 animals, so more than one pod. We spotted at least 4 large males and 1 pretty young calf with it's mother. I don't think I have every seen so many Orca breaches (at least 12 full out of water leaps) during one short sighting.

I will post a comment to this update once I've figured out which pods these were from, but from the water it certainly looked like the A12s were in the mix. There's a fair bit of underwater noise with the construction of the North Harbour, mill, tug boats and ferries, so could not pick up any good vocals to help with pod confirmation. What I did hear though, was not the typical A clan calls.

There were also some either dolphins or porpoises with them, but no-one could confirm which species since there were no large leaps which would usually indicate Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Seeing Dolphins or Porpoises traveling with Orca in itself would confirm that these were Resident (fish eating) Orca, since Transients are meat eaters. Out on the water, I only spotted some smaller splashes which seemed to disappear.

Dec 1 to 3: There were no sightings that I'm aware of, but the weather was not conducive to easily spot anything.

I also received a late report that there were Pacific White Sided Dolphins that were spotted from the ferry around 3:30 pm between Comox and Rebecca Rocks on Nov 30th. These were probably some of the Nov 28th group I had spotted off the top of Texada.

The ferry Queen of Chilliwack is still on the Comox-Powell River run and the dolphins are not as fond of bow riding with this ferry as they are with the Queen of Burnaby, so they don't travel with it for longer periods of time.

Thanks for the calls reporting the sightings - rest assured they get logged and reported.

PS I'm back to having at least 3 different Hummingbirds at the feeder - guess they didn't leave the area when it was so cold. Still no idea where the Humpback whales got to.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sightings Nov 26 to Nov 30

It's been a slow period as far as whale, dolphin or porpoise sightings go. Scanning the waters in front of Powell River in between work has produced only one real sighting - see below. The wind generated waves make it very difficult to spot these animals, and I have heard of no other reports of sightings.

Nov 28 - Around 50 (plus of minus) Pacific White Sided Dolphins were headed southward around 4pm from Rebecca Rocks towards the west side of Texada Island. The only way I was able to confirm what I saw, other than just splashes, was that a few of them did leap out of the water.

Not sure what happened to the Humpbacks that had been seen, but since our snow and cold snap, I have only seen one hummingbird coming back to the feeder.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Humpback Hummingbirds & Snow Nov 21 to Nov 25 Sightings

With the snow, it's been difficult to see the water and most people spent most of the time just trying to stay warm. It was bitter cold, yet there are three hummingbirds at the feeder! These little guys are Anna's hummingbirds and there are a few of them that stay in the Powell River area all winter. All I know is that I'm amazed that both the hummers and the humpbacks haven't left for warmer climates. I assume the one from the previous days is still the one known as Crescent, but there's no confirmation. The hummers aren't named.

Nov 23 - 25 Scanned between snow and bits of fog, but nothing confirmed. Not sure if I only saw some spray from winds or if there was a Humpback blow.

Nov 22 - 1 Humpback was seen around the Powell River Mill by the "hulks" breakwater.

Nov 21 - 1 Humpback was reported to have spent most of the day between Lund and Savary Island at least till close to 5pm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Humpback Whale Sightings Nov 17 to Nov 20

Nov 20 - Confirmed sighting of 2 humpback whales heading towards Lund from the bottom of Savary Island at around 4pm. No idea if these are different animals or not.
At around 9pm 3 distinct blows were heard tight in to shore by Sevilla Island off of Lund. Humpbacks will find a safe place to rest, and were probably between the rock just of the island and Sevilla Island itself since they were not on the move.

Nov 20 - Morning scans of the water. I could have sworn I saw two distinct blows, but never saw the type of whale. This was between Rebecca Rocks and Harwood Island heading towards Vivian Island just on the west end of Harwood - all just off of Powell River.

Nov 19 - Unfortunately, no sightings. There were a lot of birds around Atrevida Reef as well as around Rebecca Rocks to Harwood Island.

Nov 18 - Only saw one blow and back briefly. Again, I assume it's still the same humpback whale. Guess timing was off from scanning the waters to spotting whales.

Nov 17 - Looks like Crescent the humpback is still around - thought I saw a second blow?? A later report said they were watching and had a lovely breach - great shore sighting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crescent the Humpback Whale Nov 14 to 16

Nov 14 right through to this morning of Nov 16 - BCX1258, the Humpback whale known as Crescent is still feeding in and around the area from Texada Island, Harwood Island to Sliammon First Nations and Powell River on the mainland.

The Sliammon First Nations operate a fish hatchery and the creek would certainly attract many small fish to feed on the carcasses of spawned out salmon making a great feeding area for this Humpback whale.

Thanks to those calling me right away with the information on where she's travelling. It allows me to actually get some work done rather than staring out the window looking for her. Please keep those calls coming so we can keep an eye on her and her travels.

Nov 14 - 2 Harbour porpoises at around 1:45 pm spotted by Grief Point foraging in the tide lines - nice to finally see some around again. The porpoise sightings are being overshadowed by the excitement of having a Humpback staying in our area.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Humpback Whale Crescent Sightings Nov 13 & 14

Nov 12 (the rest of the day from my prior post) did manage to produce one view of the Humpback whale known as Crescent BCX1258

Nov 13 and 14th (it's early on the 14th) Crescent the Humpback whale is still cruising around the area from Texada, Harwood, and Powell River. Doing long dives, it's a bit of patience to spot her, then she comes up for a few breaths before another long dive. At 10am this morning she was angled towards the hulks in front of the Powell River mill.

I'd love to hear if anyone else is spotting her - where and when.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Humpback Whale Sightings Nov 11 to Nov 12

Nov 12 - Although we're not done with the day yet, the Humpback whale appeared again just out from shore in front of Powell River this morning. It was headed towards Willingdon beach doing long dives then coming up for three or four breaths and another long dive. Hopefully it's getting some good feed.
This whale is nicknamed Crescent and it's officially known as BCX1258 and is definitely the same one as on Nov 10th - thanks to Jackie Hildering and Christie McMillen for the assistance in the identification.

Nov 11  - with the winds and rough sea state, I had no reports and did not spot anything myself

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Humpback Whales Sightings Nov 10

Nov 10 - Just as I finished posting yesterday's lack of whale sightings at 9am, I looked up from the computer to see a Humpback whale surfacing just out from the Powell River shore. After logging off the computer and grabbing camera gear, I went to see if I could get some identification photos.

The first very large whale I spotted quickly slipped past me and since it was so calm, it's huge blow could be seen from quite a distance as it made it's way Southward past Grief Point. Since it was doing long dives, I was going to head back to the harbour, but spotted another Humpback right in front of me. In the almost 4 hours I was with it, this humpback didn't fluke (show it's tail), but I managed to get a couple of hump photos by Harwood Island that show some unique markings. See the photos below. I need help with the identification, it's not one that I've seen before. Please let me know if you can figure it out. I left it around 2pm heading southwest between Texada Island and Rebecca Rocks.

It was so calm and sunny out there. No sightings so far today Nov 11th.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Information and Sightings Nov 4 to Nov 9

It's been a slow few days. I may have been wishful thinking Nov 7 when I saw what looked like 5 to 6 blows travelling in an Orca-like pattern. Grabbing binoculars I stayed scanning the area for a while, but never saw another blow, so I'd have to say it was a non-report.

The bird activity between Sentry Shoal and Rebecca Rocks just out from Powell River has been huge, with thousands of birds grouped up. Not having enough time to take a run out there on the skiff, I was unable to tell if there were any marine mammals pushing the feed to the surface, or if it was only some diving birds.

I have been asked to explain about the subscription to this blog and how it works. You can subscribe by typing in your email address in the box to the right. It can be any email address where you'd like these updates to be sent. You will receive a verification email requesting a reply to confirm that you actually would like this information sent to your inbox. Once you've authorized the receipt of these emails, you will start to receive them as an email sent directly to you. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me susan@whalesanddolphinsbc.com  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Whale and Dolphin Sightings Nov 1 to Nov 3

Nov 3 - 1 Humpback around 10am by Northeast Point off of Texada Island. It was facing Northward, but since the general direction gathered from the earlier reports puts it making it's way slowly in a Southerly direction, it may not be coming back to this area. Anyone with photos of it's hump and / or tail flukes, please drop a note - let's see if we can identify this whale

Nov 3 - 1 Harbour Porpoise was feeding between Harwood Island and Mystery Reef, just South of Savary Island

Nov 3 - 100+ Pacific White Sided Dolphins were first spotted around 8am close to the Texada Ferry and Powell River Ferry Terminal. They stayed relatively close to shore and continued towards Grief Point, which they rounded by 9:30am With the calm weather, I received comments about hearing all their amazing blows as they past the South Harbour.

Nov 2 - The Humpback whale was spotted sometime during the day close to Dinner Rock just South of the Iron Mines and North of Atrevida Reef. - between Powell River and Lund. 

Nov 2 - 4 Pacific White Sided Dolphins on the 9am Lund Water Taxi run between Lund and Savary. They bow rode for a short period of time then headed NW.

Nov 1 - 1 Humpback spent most of the day feeding back and forth around the Iron Mines just South of Lund. There were some dolphins around it also. Rumour mill has it as having been in the area for a few days....people, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sightings Oct 31 to Nov 1

Nov 1 - With hopes of spotting the dolphins again, I scanned the waters when I could, but spotted nothing. I'm told by the Cetacean Sightings Network team that there had been no sightings reports from this area other than mine. I can't watch the ocean all day and would love to hear of any sightings from you

Oct 31 - 30 plus Pacific White Sided Dolphins were chasing feed in their high speed chase patterns then stopping to feed. They were spotted off the Willingdon Beach around 12pm and worked their way towards Grief Point in front of Powell River. They were moving pretty quickly with stops to feed in between.

Oct 31 - Not a large group of Pacific White Sided Dolphins were spotted around 11:20 am close to the Texada shore just above VanAnda. Due to the distance, I couldn't get a number or direction on them. The only reason I knew they were dolphins was by the leaps.

Oct 31 - 6 either Dalls or Harbour porpoises were foraging closer to Harwood Island at around 9 am and then later were spotted close to Powell River's South Harbour breakwater. Lots of bird activity now, so the feed must be in.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Whale Sghtings Oct 25 to Oct 30

Well, the past few days have been very quiet in this area for any sightings. Although a few of us are keeping our eyes open for any activity, there seems to be a distinct lack of whales, dolphins, porpoises and even sea lion activity.

I did hear some commercial chatter on the radio of "a couple of (too scratchy to catch what) heading towards the boat."  They were just outside of Merry Island by Secret Cove.

Always keeping our eyes open and scanning! Happy Halloween to all.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Killer Whale / Orca Sightings Oct 23 to Oct 24

Oct 24 - 2 and possibly more Killer Whales / Orca at 5:45 pm between the top of Texada Island and Rebecca Rocks out from Powell River. The seas were up from the winds making anything difficult to spot. I thought I'd take a quick scan with the binoculars and was surprised to catch an Orca breaching. I did see at least two dorsals, but couldn't tell if I saw more than that in the waves. They appeared to be heading in a NW direction.

Oct 23 - Saw some splashes, but can't guarantee they were from any type of cetacean. May have been some of the dolphins that were around Nanaimo a few days ago, or could have just been some sealions.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sightings Orca and Dolphins Oct 21 to 22

Since it's pretty quiet out there for whale watching boaters right now, reports are getting slimmer. If you are interested in joining this network of whale sighting reporters, please contact me at susan@whalesanddolphinsbc.com or by posting a comment below to help with sightings from land or the water. No sighting report is ignored, and all information is passed on to researchers for tracking. Winter is a crucial time specifically because there are fewer people on the water. Let's help figure out where these cetaceans travel.

Oct 22 - At least the fog lifted! But there have been no reports passed on to me, nor have I spotted anything today other than a fair bit of white caps on the water.

Oct 21 - 200 Pacific White Sided Dolphins first spotted around 9:30 am around Ripple Point at the lower end of Johnstone Strait and continued southward into Discovery Passage. Unfortunately I was in peas soup fog all day for the second day, and could not tell if they made it down into Georgia Strait.

Oct 21 - 3 Transient (meat eating) Orca were spotted - a bit out of the range from here, but since I received the report, I'm including it - they were at the top of Johnstone Strait very early in the morning and were continuing West into Queen Charlotte Strait.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oct 4 to Oct 20 Whales and Dolphin Sightings

Oct 20 - 150 to 200 PLUS another 300 Pacific White Sided Dolphins. 12:45 just South of Kanish Bay in Discovery Pass above Campbell River they were spread out to mid-strait. Just after 1pm sounds like the same group were headed North by Mills Bay. A short while later, there were an additional approximately 300 by Helmken Island, just below Kelsey Bay in Johnstone Strait. These ones were headed in a SEast direction as if to meet up with the first group.

Oct 20 - Unknown number of Killer Whales / Orca just west of Kelsey Bay. No direction of travel. This information was passed through a few people to me, and the people I spoke with never did catch up to these whales, but it was a reliable originating source.

Oct 19 - 200 approx. Pacific White Sided Dolphins around Brown's Bay, Discovery Pass "pop corning" (it looks like they pop out of the water as they chase feed) everywhere! Later in the afternoon, they were mid Discovery Pass across from Copper Bluffs (off Campbell River) headed South West.

Oct 18 (Help me fill in these blanks....leave a comment)

Oct 17 - 3 to 6 Either Pacific White Sided Dolphins or Dalls Porpoises 10:45 am seen from a distance, which, unless they leap clear out of the water, makes it difficult to identify, on the West side of Rebecca Rocks out from Powell River and between Texada and Harwood Islands.

Oct 11 to 16 

Oct 10 - 300 to 500 Pacific White Sided Dolphins 11am till 1pm at the top of Discovery Pass and the netrance to Okisollo Channel. They were spread out, leaping and doing dolphin stuff.

Oct 7 to 9 Again, very quiet.

Oct 6 -  1 Minke whale 12:45 pm out from Powell River viewpoint pointed towards Texada Island's Blubber Bay. Saw it surface three times and then it disappeared. I was scanning in search of the Resident Orca, but later heard they made their way up to the upper Johnstone Strait.

Oct 4 & 5 Very quiet days - no sighting from here or reported to me about any whales or dolphins in the area.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sept 21 to Oct 3 Whale, Dolphin and Porpoise Sightings

Oct. 3 - 30 to 50 Killer Whales / Orca WOW These were Resident (fish eating) Orca seen from 1pm till 5:45pm - first seen by Mitlenatch Island spread out towards Cape Mudge, Quadra Island and continued through Seymour Narrows up Discovery Channel to Deep Water Bay above Campbell River. They included A12s, A30s, A36s, A34s I11s, G17s and more pods!

Oct 3 - 2 Harbour Porpoises 10:45am in front of Powell River, Westview foraging towards Harwood Island.

Oct 2 - 4 Killer Whales / Orca at 10am in Calm Channel by Church House. These were Transient (meat Eating) Orca and only 4 females were spotted. Later in the day these 4 were spotted again around 4pm still heading West in Cordero Channel.

Oct 1 - 5 or 6 Killer Whales /Orca 3:45 to 5pm between Harwod and Vivian Island then around Grant's Reef at the bottom of Savary Island. They were doing long dives, but looked like Transient Orca. There was 1 or possibly 2 large males, but the seas had started to pick up so I lost sight of them.

Sept 30 - 5 or 6 Pacific White Side Dolphins 4pm headed in a Westerly direction from Blubber Bay, Texada Island.

Sept 30 - ?? total number Killer Whales/Orca between 12:20 and 5:30 pm at Bear Point, Johnstone Strait at 12:20 pm, Ripple Point at 3:30 pm and headed east to Nodales Channel at 5:30 pm. These were Resident (fish eating) Orca including A12, A36s, A34s.

Sept 23 - 1 Killer Whale /Orca was spotted between Whaletown, Cortez Island and Heriot Bay, Quadra Island - no time - no direction.

Sept 22 - 1 Killer Whale / Orca shortly after spotting the Dolphins below, which would explain the rush they were in. Headed towards Savary Island. I assume it was T14 a large male Orca and well known Transient (meat eater) Orca who frequently travels alone.

Sept 22 - approx. 10 Pacific White Sided Dolphins around 5:45 pm Spotted by the Hulks off the Powell River Mill headed towards Grief Point in a hurry...odd.

Sept 21 - 2 Harbour Porpoises around 1;30 pm just off of Powell River between Texada and Harwood Islands headed west towards Rebecca Rocks.

Sept 21 - 2 Humpbacks 8:30 am till 4pm First saw them around Blubber Bay, Texada Island and picked them up again mid strait between Vancouver Island and Texada headed southward towards Denman and Hornby Islands. They were doing long dives so it was tough to keep up with where they popped up again. Gave up when the seas picked up a bit more than comfortable.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sept 12 to 20 Whale and Porpoise Sightings

Sept 20 - 2 Humpback whales around 6pm from Atrevida Reef to the hulks off the Powell River Mill slowly moving southeast.

Sept 20 - 8 Killer whales / Orca same Transients (meat eaters) as had been around for a while. around 11am till 2pm southward movement from Mitlenatch Isl to Sentry Shoal but a bit closer to Vancouver Island side of the strait.

Sept 18 - 12 (+or-) Killer whales / Orca 12pm-6pm Rebecca Spit, Quadra Isl. along shore then to Marina Isl. and down past Cortez Reef just off Baker Passage between Hernando and Cortez Isl.

Sept 17 - 6 Killer whales / Orca Transients at same time 7pm close to the Powell River shoreline slowly working their way north west up towards Mystery Reef, Savary Isl. Watched both groups (see below) till it got too dark to see them.

Sept 17 - 8 Killer Whales / Orca Transients 7pm in one of the nicest sunsets past Blubber Bay, Texada Isl. westbound towards Sentry Shoal.

Sept 16 - 2 Harbour porpoises around 5pm heading southward towards Grief Point between the E side of Texada Isl. and Powell River.

Sept 16 - 20 Killer whales / Orca Transients (meat eaters) received a phone call around noon that there were 4 Orca by Savary Island heading down the Strait. I found 16 of them by Grant's Reef off Savary Isl.and had another 4 join up later on around 1:30 pm till 5:30 pm as they worked their way southward towards the west side of Texada Island. Again, great day with lots of breaching, tail slaps and great vocals and lots of photos.

Sept 14 - 3 or more Killer whales / Orca around 2:40 pm between Rebecca Rocks and Harwood Island off Powell River heading NW towards Vivian Island - assumed to be Transient (meat eaters) still in the area.

Sept 14 - 2 Dalls porpoises 1:35 pm right at the Mystery Reef marker off Savary Island

Sept 14 - 5 Harbour porpoises 1pm - 1:35 pm travelling along from Mace Point, Savary Island to Mystery Reef foraging.

Sept 13 - 26 to 28 Killer whales / Orca Transients (meat eaters) including the ones from yesterday from 11:30 am till 5pm What a great day! From Sentry Shoal just south of Savary Island travelling up to Mitlenatch Island then Whilby Shoals, Quadra Island. They grouped up then spread out as they breached, tail slapped and interacted with one another and their food (seals and sealions). Great vocals too - I will be posting some to the website soon.

Sept 12 - 4 Killer whales / Orca Transients including T65B and female whose number I don't remember with scoliosis damage to her dorsal from 2 pm till 5 pm from Stag Bay, Hernando Island along the shoreline to Savary Island - I left them close to the Savary Island dock.

Sept 12 - 1 Harbour porpoise 12:30 pm between Marina and Cortez Islands closer to Mansons Landing

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sept 8 to 11 Whale, Dolphin and Porpoise Sightings

Sept. 11 - 2 Harbour porpoises at 4:30 pm by Smelt Bay, Cortez Island foraging.

Sept 11 - 12 Orca / Killer whales - possibly same Transients - 10am to 12pm spotted just outside Whaletown, Cortez Island and along Marina Island to Cortez Reef. They grouped up from different areas then headed N to Breton Islands.

Sept 10 - 2 Humpbacks 10am first spotted at Separation Head in Discovery Passage then 4pm down by Cape Mudge on Quadra Island.

Sept. 10 - 12 Orca / Killer whales (these were Transient Orca) from 9:25 am to 4pm by Cortez Island, Whaletown to Heriot Bay then Cape Mudge on Quadra Island. Lots of zig zagging they were pretty spread out. Last seen heading NW towards Campbell River.

Sept. 9 - 2 Dalls porpoise at 4:30 pm by Thurston Bay working the tide line.

Sept. 9 - 9 Dalls porpoises around 4pm in Nodales Channel below Sonora Pt. foraging close to shore in a northward direction.

Sept. 9 - 1 Pacific White Sided dolphin 3:30 pm top of Nodales Channel just above Sonora Pt. Unusual to see a lone dolphin, especially one that looked like a juvenile. It may have been separated from its group by Transient Orca.

Sept. 9 - 2 Dalls porpoise 2:30 pm - 3pm Cordero Island below Greene Point Rapids feeding in rips and then riding the bow of my boat SaltWash.

Sept. 9 - 2 Harbour porpoises around 10:30 am at the very top of Loughborough Inlet, McBride Bay were chasing fish. I had gone to look for the dolphins again, but didn't find them.

Sept. 8 - 4 Dalls porpoises around 5pm by Cordero Island just below Greene Point Rapids and the top of Maine Passage were foraging in the tide rips.

Sept. 8 - Around 500+ Pacific White Sided dolphins 2:30 pm till 4:00 pm were spread out and leaping, chasing feed, and generally being active part way up and to the mouth of Loughborough Inlet. I left them going west to Chancellor Inlet.

Sept. 8 - 4 Dalls porpoises around 12:45 pm at the bottom of Johnstone Strait, top of Discovery Passage by Walkem Islands were working the tide rips feeding.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Whale sightings

The listing of whale sightings, dates and species will be posted to this blog starting the next few days and will continue every few days. The sightings list will start from mid-September whale sightings and I hope that you will join in by posting any sightings or comments you might have.

Apart from being away, which delayed postings, on my return I prepared and gave a talk in Powell River about the whales, dolphins and porpoises in and around the area. It was a bonus to be able to show photos and play short clips of the great vocals I recorded from some of the September 2010 whales that were around Texada, Harwood, Savary and Mitlenatch Islands.

My Home site has another species added: Harbour (or Harbor if you prefer) Porpoise.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Farewell to a Friend

Derk Schaupmeyer 1945 – 2010

Losing a long time dear and close friend is never easy. Saying our final goodbyes at “the center of the universe” as Derk called Stubbs Island, with family and a few friends was special and peaceful.

My boat, SaltWash was out of commission, so our trip from Telegraph Cove took place on the Stubbs Island Whale Watching vessel Gikumi, thanks to Jim and Mary Borrowman. An evening that had rain forecast was calm and dry.

Just as we entered Weynton Pass, a few Dalls porpoises took the lead by zipping back and forth at our bow as our escort. This was significant, for Derk had enjoyed Dalls porpoises bow riding so much in years before. Just as we came to mid passage, there was a blow from a Humpback whale locally nicknamed Freckles. Wouldn't you know it, Freckles was nicknamed the year Derk was visiting the area, and I believe is the one he managed to photograph. We stopped for a moment to watch.

Continuing towards Stubbs Island a Minke whale was spotted feeding in the tide rips. Then came the Sealions on and around “the center of the universe”. Considering how short of a distance we had covered, it was impressive to have this varied and number of animal sightings. We all felt Derk's presence.

With the tide and current just right, the engine was turned off and we drifted. Even the raucous Sealions became quiet as we said our goodbyes and raised a glass in a toast to Derk.

As we drove out of Telegraph Cove back to Port McNeill, we had the opportunity to view a couple of coastal black bears feeding on berries. There were still a few other animals we could have seen, but these were certainly significant in Derk's life.

Goodbye dear friend, may you rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grey Whales and other Sightings

For those lucky enough to have been in the Vancouver, BC – Lower Mainland - area the past few weeks the sighting whales and dolphins was a huge surprise.

The first report I heard of in the Lower Mainland area, was of Pacific White Sided Dolphins. Although the report came to me quite a bit after the fact, the sighting, close to the end of the Olympics, was of over 50 dolphins bow and wake riding a boat close to Bowen and Gambier Islands.

The next sighting report was all over the news. A Grey Whale, a gray whale if you use the American spelling, was near Squamish giving the locals a first hand look of it's blow (breathing spout) and mottled grey back.

Within a few days, on May 11th, another sighting came on the news of either another, or possibly the same, Grey Whale in False Creek, right downtown Vancouver. The Coast Guard was on had keeping an eye on the numerous boats wanting to take a look. The Granville Island ferry passengers had some of the best viewing opportunities, while the Coast Guard ran escort.

It has been many years since any whales ventured into that area. The last one I remember was in the late 1960's, and I believe it was a Grey not a Humpback Whale. I also recall a Pilot Whale breaching in False Creek. I believe that was in the 1980's and made the newspapers in full breach. You could fairly say that after all these year, I'm still hooked on whales.

Not too long after these reports, which had been dribbling in after the fact, I received a phone call of a possible blow having been spotted by Powell River. Although I went out on the water almost immediately, after a couple of hours in search of the elusive whale, I found nothing. It was only a couple of days ago that I ran into someone else who said that other people had seen blows the same time frame. They too couldn't specify direction or if, in fact, it was a whale.

The next reports were of approximately 150 Pacific White Sided Dolphins in Howe Sound. This is back to the area around Bowen and Gambier Islands. I have not heard how long they stayed in the vicinity, or where they went after that. They don't seem to be along the upper Sunshine Coast.

Some issues to do with whales and porpoises have also popped up this month. A dead newborn Orca / Killer Whale, with it's umbilical cord still attached, washed ashore south of Victoria, BC. Although it's estimated that around 40 percent of Orca calves die within the first year, it is rare for one to wash up on a beach. They usually sink before biologists can get a look at them.

Also in the Victoria and Sooke area only a few days after the dead Orca calf, eight Harbour, or Harbor Porpoises washed ashore. It's very unusual, if not unheard of, for Harbour Porpoises to strand themselves. These animals, including some pregnant females, appeared to have been in relatively good body condition.

It is possible that the Transient (meat eating) Orca / Killer Whales that have been around the area may have chased them to the breaking point of their bodies. As in one of my previous posts about the Transient Orca just outside Powell River, they sometimes don't eat their kill. It is quite disconcerting to have this many animals die virtually at once. Biologists are performing necropsies.

Please, if you see any marine mammal or sea turtle sick, injured, in distress or dead along the British Columbia coast, please call The Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465-4336

Just prior to posting this, I heard of a Humpback Whale northbound through Discovery Pass by Campbell River. Is this the same whale that some saw blows of?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Anti Whaling Petition - Protect the Whales

I've just signed an urgent petition at Avaaz.org to protect whales. Read more below, or click this link to join me in signing:


Dear friends,

The International Whaling Commission has just unveiled a proposal to legalize commercial whale hunting for the first time in 24 years.

Countries are now deciding their first responses -- and they're watching public reaction closely. New Zealand called its provisions -- which include a legal quota for hunting endangered fin whales -- "offensive," "unacceptable," and "inflammatory." But other key nations are rumoured to be leaning in support of it. They need to hear from us now.

Avaaz has launched an urgent petition to show our leaders their people want to protect whales, not hunt, kill, and sell them. Already, 400,000 people have signed -- and the petition is being sent to the International Whaling Commission each time it reaches another 100,000 signatures -- sign here and forward this message:


A strong international consensus has opposed whaling for decades -- but for just as long, Japan, Norway, and Iceland have continued to hunt whales, ignoring the global ban on whaling or exploiting a loophole by claiming their expeditions were "scientific research." Now they could be rewarded by this "compromise" proposal, in which their commercial whaling would be made legal in exchange for unenforceable promises to slowly reduce their yearly catch.

Worse still, a number of other countries are watching the process closely in hopes of launching their own whaling programs. If Japan, Norway, and Iceland can hunt whales and sell their meat, others will ask "if them, why not us?"

It's time to save the whales -- again. The IWC proposal will be voted up or down by country delegates this June, but their positions are hardening fast -- let's respond massively, right away, everywhere. Click below and forward this message to oppose the legalization of commercial whale hunting:


Forty years ago, whales were on the brink of extinction. But thanks to a global social movement, the world banned commercial whaling in 1986. The ban is one of the environmental movement's great triumphs.

Today, whales still face many threats: not just the whalers' harpoons, but also climate change, destruction of ecosystems by overfishing and pollution, and nets intended for other fish. A renewed wave of commercial whaling could devastate these extraordinarily intelligent and social cousins of humanity. This is no time to move backwards.

Another link I have for you is "The Cove" movie about the dolphin slaughter in Japan.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Transient Killer Whales / Orca April 30

Around 16 Transient Orca / Killer whales were in the Powell River area Friday April 30th. They included T14 an older male born around 1969 and T63 another large male that has damage to it's dorsal fin.

There was also a relatively new born calf in the mix. It still had a pinkish colour to it's white areas. The adults showed the calf how to kill a sea lion as well as a harbour seal. I was surprised that the whales, after killing the sea lion, only ate part of it then abandoned the carcass to drift away.

The whales were quite spread out in Malaspina Strait, but I managed to locate them around Grief Point and stayed with them till they left between Harwood Island and Rebecca Rocks towards Vancouver Island. With the hydrophone down, I managed to get some very good recordings when they grouped up. Fortunately the ferries and other small boats had cleared the area since their motors make a fair bit of noise that can drown out the whale sounds.

I have been very busy over the past few weeks and hope to get some of these recent photos up soon now. I have added some updates to my main site Whales and Dolphins of BC.com

The Cove is the Academy Award winning documentary about the dolphin slaughter in Japan. The importance of spreading the word about this horrible slaughter is a cause I truly believe in. These are intelligent animals as are the whales that are hunted. This documentary show just how clandestine these hunts are and should be stopped. I'm providing a link for anyone interested in purchasing this movie:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Transient Orca - Killer Whales April 11 and 12

Transient Orca  were spotted from Lund in the morning of April 11th coming through Baker Pass heading towards Savary Island. It took them a while, but a couple of hours later I managed to pick them up by Harwood Island out in front of Powell River on the Sunshine Coast. It was great to be on the water with sunshine and calm waters for a couple of hours.

They took long dives staying underwater for a good 10 minutes at a time. They would pop up at quite a distance off if I stopped for too long. I managed to get a couple of photos of them for identification purposes and lost them after waiting for 20 minutes to pop up again.

I dropped the hydrophone, but there were no vocals from them. I did however hear some Pacific White Sided Dolphins at a distance so went to investigate. By the time I got close to their splashes, they had disappeared and become very quiet. I assume their disappearance was due to the realization that these Orca were around. Transient Orca are meat eaters and do eat dolphins, seals and even other whales. For more Orca - Killer Whale specifics go to: whalesanddolphinsbc.com

Today I received information that there were Orca by the Comox to Powell River ferry April 12 around 7:45 pm. It sounds like it probably was the same group of Transients continuing their southward direction.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dolphins and Texada Ferry

Last Friday's storm had huge winds and the Texada Ferry ran during part of it. There have been a couple of my photos published in the Vancouver Sun and Powell River Peak, and as promised in my prior post, here's a different one:
In the last few days, I've received word that there have been around 50 Pacific White Sided Dolphins in the Powell River area. They were spotted around Grief Point on April 5th. and 6th. and today I received word from another source that there was a group seen near Texada Island and around the Texada ferry on April 1st and 5th. Sounds like the Transient Orca left the area sometime after March 22nd.

Don't be shy to post a comment if you've seen any whales or dolphins. Love to hear about it and share it.

Check out the main site for identification of whales: www.whalesanddolphinsbc.com I hope to get more information up on a regular basis. the latest is an updated About me page and Minke Whale specifics.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Storms and Site Workings

After a bit of losing the pages and reinstalling them, whalesanddolphinsbc.com is up and I've managed to add bit more. The About Page is now set up correctly since the first go around, I lost and had to redo.

There are links established to Humpback and Killer, or Orca, Whales and I am, in between being very busy, working on other pages.

We had a fierce wind storm the other day which caused power outages along the coast and many people lost garbage cans down the street. I couldn't believe it when I looked out to see the Texada ferry running in the midst of high seas and winds. Of course, I grabbed the camera and will post a photo here a bit later - it's on the other computer. There was one published in the Vancouver Sun both on line and in the paper.

Hope you all have a great Easter long weekend.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Updating Blogger

It didn't take too long to realize that this Whales and Dolphins blog was not exactly what I was trying to accomplish. I was actually in need of a web site, and not just a blog. I quickly found that although Blogger is a very powerful tool, a web site with pages in more of a logical and sequential order rather than easy postings in reverse order made more sense for all the content.

The webiste link is. www.whalesanddolphinsbc.com

I do not plan to quit the blog. As a matter of fact, I intend to incorporate the blog in conjunction with the Blogger's usefulness in keeping in touch with anyone who has comments and this forum will be used as that.

The three pages I already posted in this blog are archived, but all further links from the Whale Species list and the "Home" page titled "What Whales and Dolphins are in BC?" will be progressing on the website, which is a work in progress.

Any comments or questions are welcome and I will continue to update this blog with tidbits of information on local sightings of whales and dolphins and some of the trials and tribulations of building the website: www.whalesanddolphinsbc.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Killer Whales (Orcinius Orca) of BC

The Killer Whale, (Orcinius Orca), is probably the most widely known species of whale and the most seen by tourists during whale watching excursions and boaters. More commonly referred to as Orca and occasionally as Blackfish, these whales are even seen while traveling on BC Ferries. It is the most watched, monitored and researched of any species of whale or dolphin in BC. It is also the most recognizable with it's tall dorsal fin and easiest to spot as they surface in the wild since they tend to travel in groups known as pods.

Pods are actually their own matriarchal family groups. Animals born into a pod, stay in the pod their entire lives. This is like living with your mother, aunts, uncles, cousins and brothers and sisters all descendant from your mother's side of the family for your whole life. It is extremely rare for an Orca from one pod to be accepted or join with another pod of whales. The gene pool gets mixed up by not having any father within the same pod. Each pod has their own 'dialect' of communication through various squeaks, burbles, and whistles. (Check back for sound clips as this blog progresses).

The term “Whale” is a misnomer since the Orca is actually from the dolphin family. We associate “whale” with something very large and they are much larger than the majority of dolphins. They are a whale of a dolphin.

Killer Whales have a varied diet, although some might specialize in a particular type of meal. There are three distinct types of Killer Whales in BC. Resident Orca are exclusively fish eaters. Consider them the vegetarians of the Killer Whale family. Transient Orca are meat eaters and are frequently seen preying on seal, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises and even larger whales. Transient whales are thought to eat the occasional fish. Then there are the Offshore Orca. It is unclear if they have a food specialty and may actually feed on both mammals and fish. I have seen them feeding on fish and harassing larger whales, but never actually taking a mammal.

As the names for these types of Orca imply, these whales have known areas of travel. In and along the BC coast, the most frequently and consistently seen are the Resident Killer Whales. Of the Residents, there are two distinct populations. In the inside waters, the Northern Resident Orca spend their time traveling throughout the Northern part of BC from around the Nanaimo area in the South to as far North as Alaska. The Southern Residents travel from around the Comox area in the North to parts of the Washington coastline in the South. As you can see, the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whales have only a small area of overlap in the inside waters of our coast. None of the different types of Killer Whales tend to associate with one another.

Transient Orca seem to come and go. As their name implies, they are transient whales and just pass through. It is unclear as to their actual territory, if they even have one. These whales have been seen coming into the inside Strait of Georgia from the top end of Vancouver Island by Cape Scott and leaving at the bottom end by Victoria. Perhaps they circumnavigate Vancouver Island as well as meander back up or down our inside passages. They are routinely seen in the inside waters of BC.

Offshore Orca very seldom travel into the lower inside waters of British Columbia at all. These whales spend most of their time in off shore waters of the open Pacific Ocean, or at least mostly in the open waters of BC's West coast. They are regularly seen in the inside passage of BC's North coast for short periods of time and occasionally in the Blackfish Sound area at the top end of Johnstone Strait.

These Orca or Killer Whales have no known natural predators. In years past, they were shot and slaughtered thinking that they were “Killers” of everything in their path. We now know that these highly intelligent whales are closer to us than we might like to think. They are organized, look at the Transients whales on their coordinated hunts, they are protective of their family, look at reports of Offshore whales attacking boats that have inadvertently hit one of their pod, and they are social, look at their family ties and Resident whales mixing it up with other pods in a “Super Pod” party.

Killer Whale (Orcinius Orca) Specifics:
      Males: up to 10 m (33 ft)
      Females: up to 8.5 m (8 ft)
      Males: up to 10,000 kg (22,000 lbs)
      Females: up to 7,500 kg (16,500 lbs)
      Black body with white underside
      Oval white eyepatch
      Grey to white saddle patch behind dorsal fin
      Roundish head with slightly pointed beak (nose)
      Paddle shaped pectoral fins
      Prominent dorsal fin located midpoint of back
      Adult male: dorsal fin taller (around 2 m or 6 ft) than female and straighter
      Females and juveniles: dorsal fin usually less than 1 m (3 ft) and curved

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What Whales and Dolphins are in BC?

Many of the whales, dolphins and porpoises found throughout the world can be seen along the coast of British Columbia. There are slight variations to some of the world's marine mammal populations. For example the Pacific White Sided Dolphin has a similar species called the Atlantic White Sided Dolphin. Both species of these dolphins are just as gregarious and athletic as the other. For Killer Whales, or Orca, there are three known types throughout the world; Resident, Transient and Offshore. These types, by definition, give some insight as to where they are most likely to travel.

The BC coastline is incredibly long and varied. There are “inside passages”, “outside waters”, and millions of islands in between. And there are whales, dolphins and porpoises that travel all the waterways.

Check back frequently as I will be modifying the list below to link each name to more specific details of the individual types of whales, dolphins and porpoises. If you have bookmarked this page in your browser, you may need to refresh it to see the updated link. As this blog progresses I will get into the details of where, and how, as a tourist, boater or kayaker these wonderful animals can be seen and enjoyed in the wild.

First, to clarify, whales, dolphins and porpoises are collectively known as Cetaceans, mammals that are adapted to aquatic life. The term Cetacea comes from the Latin Cetus which, by definition originally meant “large sea animal”. It's adaptation and use in biological terms stands for “whales”. Some have teeth, some have baleen filters. These are defined with the specific whale information pages. Although there are other marine mammals adapted to aquatic life, they fall into other categories known as Pinnipeds for Seals and Sea Lions. And then there are the Otters, but that's for another time.

List of Cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) of BC: These will be converted to links as I post the details of the specific animals on their own page. If you have bookmarked this page in your browser, remember to refresh it to update the links.

Killer Whale or Orca
Humpback Whale
Dall's Porpoise
Harbour Porpoise
Pacific White Sided Dolphin
Northern Right Whale Dolphin
Risso's Dolphin
Common Dolphin
Striped Dolphin
False Killer Whale
Short Finned Pilot Whale
Sperm Whale
Gray Whale
Minke Whale
Sei Whale
Fin Whale
Blue Whale
North Pacific Right Whale
Other Beaked and Pygmy Whales

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Starting the Whale & Dolphin Blog

The idea of starting this blog is to share whale and dolphin encounters and experiences with others.

The whales and dolphins of BC have become major attractions for visitors and researchers. Orca, or Killer Whales as they are also known have been monitored by researchers and viewed by visitors for many years. Humpback whales have been returning to the Strait of Georgia in greater numbers over the past few years. Pacific White Sided Dolphins seldom used to transit the lower inside BC waters, yet today they are seen year round.

There are many other marine mammals seen on our coast and I hope to include them as well.