July 27th

We had a special trip today, we left from Kelsey Bay and returned to Campbell River in the boat! The weather was beautiful throughout the day. The Tenacious III stopped at Helmken Island to see multiple Bald Eagle nests, Pacific Harbour Seals, and an elusive Steller Sea Lion.

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We continued our trip through Okisollo and Hoskyn Channel and onto Mittlenatch Island until we heard there were Killer Whales in the area. We saw 7 Bigg’s Transient mammal-eating Killer Whales by Hardwood Island, wow!

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They were travelling quickly between Harbour Seal and Steller Sea Lion haul outs. Just as we returned home we saw 3 Humpbacks Whales surface. We even were able to smell the breath of the whales before they dove down showing their tail flukes!

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An amazing ending to an incredible day on the water!

July 26

What a day! The Tenacious III came across 5 Bigg’s Transient, mammal eating Killer Whales at the east end of the Johnstone Strait this morning. The T101’s, T102’s, and TOO2C were all travelling along slowly in the choppy sea.

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After spending a while with the whales the Tenacious III headed off into Blind Channel, where on West Thurlow Island they spotted a very rare July sight, a Grizzly Bear!! The first of the 2016 season!! The sub-adult was rolling over rocks looking for small crustaceans to eat, what an amazingly luck find!!

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AMAZING!!! After the sub-adult wandered off we headed into Cordero Channel and Phillips arm for lunch. After a lovely picnic lunch the Tenacious III headed to Helmcken Island, a well known Harbour Seal haul out.

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The guests enjoyed watching the Harbour Seals lazing about on the shore, and the Bald Eagles soaring high in the sky. What an spectacular day!

 

July 25

A wonderful mix of guests today from all over the world boarded the vessel this morning as the Tenacious III headed north into Blackney Pass. Just past Hanson Island the lucky guests saw a single Humpback Whale breach in the distance! Two more Humpbacks were slowly swimming along near Hanson Island as well, wow!

We observed the A5 clan of the Northern Resident fish-eating Killer Whales feeding at Bold Head. The 12 mammals were going back and forth in the are, we got a good look at their feeding behavior!

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On the way home we spotted a pod of over 100 Pacific White Sided Dolphins! The playful mammals were riding the wake of the vessel, wow!

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We also spotted a small group of approximately 6 Dall’s Porpoises! What an amazing day!

July 24

The Tenacious III departed quickly this afternoon to catch up with the Northern Resident fish-eating Killer Whales that were spotted on the Museum tour earlier that morning. Within fifteen minutes we caught up wit the entire A5 clan at Camp Point, they are 12 Northern Resident fish-eating Killer Whales!

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The whales were spread out all across the Johnstone Strait, everywhere you looked there were striking black dorsal fins! The guests were lucky enough to witness some spy hopping, resting, travelling, and feeding!

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One of the Killer Whales even breached! Leaving the whales after a few hours, the Tenacious III headed off to calmer waters to settle down for lunch. Just in the beginning of Chancellors Channel the guests enjoyed their lunch while watching a single juvenile Steller Sea Lion resting on the rocks.

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Overhead half a dozen Bald Eagles were soaring in the sky. What an amazing day!

Saturday. July 23

The Tenacious III departed Kelsey Bay today on calm waters under sunny skies.

We headed west towards the Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. We encountered the  Northern Resident (fish eating)Killer Whales just west of the Reserve. They were identified as the A5 pod.  They were heading south along the shore towards the reserve in three groups. A23, A25’s and A42’s.

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As we left the Killer Whales and headed towards Blackney Passage 3 Dalls Porpoises appeared. It was very easy to see the white tips of their dorsal fins as they cut through the water.

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In Blackney Passage there was lots of currents and nutrients brought up in the water. We observed 3 Humpback Whales swimming around this turbulent area and had “lunch” while watching the whales. There was also a lot of bird activity in this area: sea gulls, rhinoceros auklets, pigeon gulliemots, common mures.

We ended up seeing another group of Dalls porpoises. The currents created little white caps and the Dalls porpoises where surfacing in these areas over and over.

As the Tenacious III headed back towards Kelsey Bay we saw a few bald eagles to top off the trip. Guests enjoyed a wonderful sunny day with the wind in their hair.

Friday, July 22

We left Kelsey Bay this afternoon under light cloud cover with a boat full of amazing guests. Heading west there had been reports of Transient (mammal eating) Killer Whales near the East end of Robson Bight Ecological Reserve. As we approached we saw  Jared  Towers aboard the vessel named Merlin. He was on the water doing Transient Killer Whale Research for Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Robson Wardens were also out on the water making sure everyone was following the Robson Bight guidelines and not entering the reserve. There was 6 whales in total and they were identified as the T 046B.  Guests enjoyed listening to their blows as these beautiful creatures passed by us heading East.

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We then headed to Cracroft Point where we lunched with Ripple the Humpback whale and watched another Humpback Whale in the distance.  As we were finishing up we were lucky enough to see 2 whales from the Northern Resident (fish eating) Killer Whales pass by headed towards the Sophia Islands.

 

As we started back for Kelsey Bay a group of Dalls Porpoise could be seen breaking the surface. They were quickly swimming  and we were able to view their roster tail spray as they darted back and forth through the waves.

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The highlight for me on this trip was meeting a young man with a passion for the ocean that was unbelievable. He had been studying for this trip and was very knowledgeable about the wildlife we were viewing. It is always fantastic to see such passion in young people. He wants to be a Marine Biologist when he grows up and I am confident he will do just that.  Thank you Dylan!

All photos taken with telephoto lens and cropped.

July 21st

The Tenacious III left Kelsey Bay under sunny skies today. We had reports earlier of Killer Whale sightings near Chatham Point westing so we headed down. Soon we encountered some Northern Resident fish-eating Killer Whales, the A5 pod, spread out near Camp Point and travelling quickly.

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As they started to slow and group up the young Northern Resident fish-eating Killer Whales spy hopped! As we watched a Humpback Whale appeared in the same area along the shoreline.

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The Humpback Whales turned out to be siblings KC and Ariel. They were westing and offered many great opportunities to see a tail fluke.

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Before heading back we went to Helmecken Island to view some Pacific Harbour Seals and Bald Eagles nests! What a great trip on such a sunny day!

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