Sightings Report October 16

Humpbacks humpbacks humpbacks! All the humpbacks were out today.

We had a busy day for nearing the end of peak season. Ocean Magic II went out at 12:15pm with Jeff, myself, and Rowan aboard (as well as photographer Marie O’Shaughnessy!), and we had 4 zodiacs! Mark was out at 11am, Rush at 12, and Matt and Rhonda took a gaggle of excited students from Ridley College at 1pm.

All of our trips saw humpback whales, so so many of them! Just south and west of Constance Bank (a popular feeding ground south of Victoria) we started seeing blows. Actually, that’s not quite right. We saw blows from incredibly far away today. The water was flat calm, and the light was just right. I have never had passengers spot so many humpbacks in my life!

We do our best to teach our passengers what to look for when looking for a whale. But people that are new to the ocean environment inevitably point out more than their fair share of kelp rafts and floating logs. Not today though. I could tell the people on my deck were immediately suspicious of the spot on the water that appeared to be on fire. The blows would shoot up and then hang thick over the water, silhouetted against the dark Olympic Mountain range.

There is nothing like the 20ft blow of a humpback spotted from miles away. When they looked at me inquisitively and I confirmed, that yes, those are humpbacks, suddenly everyone knew what to look for and people were spotting them left, right, and centre!

It was chaos, if I’m honest. It took us a while to settle down and just choose one humpback to look at. Once our humpback would dive, and everyone got used to their rhythm, our passengers just sat back and enjoyed spotting blow after blow in the distance, as well as listening to my commentary (I hope!)

Race Rocks was bustling with seals and sea lions as always, and we spotted several bald eagles as we transited the south end of the island up to Sooke Inlet.

Matt said the highlight of his trip was spotting a gull. Not normally a target species, but this gull was behaving unusually. It was frozen, motionless in the sky; hovering perfectly in one spot, eye fixed on the ocean. Then all of a sudden a fish leapt from the water and in the blink of an eye the gull swooped in and swallowed it before anyone could really grasp what happened.

Wild stuff!

Unfortunately it looks unlikely we’re going to be able to send any trips tomorrow. We have extreme wind forecast all day. We are still taking reservations however, as we never cancel due to weather until we’ve actually seen the weather, so call into the office in the morning for updates!

Should be good to go for Saturday though! See you then.

By Jennifer Dickson