20140630-D60_956820140630-D60_958120140630-D60_960420140630-D60_963420140630-D60_967820140630-D60_971320140630-D60_973820140630-D60_985020140630-D60_9873A mysterious and beautiful sea fog unfurled before us as we sailed through the Sounds this morning. In the gloom a whale could be heard breathing. It appeared briefly before heading to fathoms unknown. Within half an hour, the fog lifted to reveal the snow-capped mountains and dense forests. Three Dall’s porpoises were seen bow riding in the straits. Around the Plumper islands, over 60 seals were seen lolling about on the rocks and in thewater due to the low tide. Unusually enough, a group of Harlequin ducks were nestled in the rocks close to the seals.  Another humpback whale was seen slowly surfacing. On seeing its fluke, our on board naturalist Kyle was able to identify it as ‘KC’ which is short

for ‘Kelp creature’.  This whale got its name from being found as a calf in 2002, rolling around in the kelp! Today, it appeared doing a great log impression as it was moving slowly along, taking shallow dives and remaining close to the water surface. Off Stubbs Island over 20 bald eagles were observed feeding in the rip tide.

The glorious weather continued as wecruised out for our afternoon trip. The Dall’s porpoises came back to our

delight. They swam amongst various species of birds which included bald eagles and rhinoceros auklets.  Pigeon guillemots ducked ahead of us, while young salmon or smolt leapt like pieces of silver out of the water.

The fog rolled back on in, but word of a large pod of Pacific white sided dolphins bolstered our spirits. Within moments we were surrounded by a bucking, flashing, whizzing pod all around us. We gasped and squealed in delight as the dolphins enveloped us along with the fog. Surrounded on all sides, hundreds of dolphins entranced us with an incredible display of acrobatics and bow riding.

According to Captain Wayne, for every dolphin we saw surface, approx. five dolphins were below. That was giving us numbers of at least 500!

Conger, a humpback which has been seen every year in this area site since 2009 was nexton the scene. Alison, our naturalist on board was able to identify it for us. We watched it glide effortlessly through the shallows.

We were also very lucky to observe a lunge feed. We had the advantage of seeing its white pectoral fin through the crystal clear water. This made it easy to track it’s movements as it fed.

‘KC’ showed up again near Cracroft point in Johnstone Strait. True to its name, it was seen with a strand of kelp draped across its face on surfacing! The fog was well and truly gone at this point. The sun and the scenery continued to deliver as we returned, well fed with wildlife images that would continue to endure.

http://stubbs-island.com/blog/2014/06/30/monday-june-30th-2014-–-mv-lukwa/

Advertisements