Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure May 19

With exceptional visibility, sunshine and blue skies, the Ocean Magic left the harbour and headed south east toward Hein Bank. Capt Gord , and crew members, Mika, Liz and Brandon made this a special trip for our guests on board, sharing a wealth of knowledge of the marine life to be found in these rich, cold waters. We were able to find a Minke whale, a Baleen whale, off San Juan Island busy foraging below the surface for schooling fish. Bird life was plentiful and could be seen above the surface where bait balls gathered. Gulls, Common Murres, and Rhinoceros Auklets congregated in large numbers. A pair of White-winged Scoters and three Black Oystercatchers added more bird views near Chatham and Discovery Islands. A visit to Whale rock provided good looks at lounging Harbour Seals and swimming Steller Sea Lions. Mt.Baker, in Washington State, rose majestically on the horizon. A good dose of sunshine and wildlife viewing is what Prince of Whales provided today and we weren’t disappointed.
Marie ‘Orca-Magic’

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Ocean Magic Adventure April 30 2011

The ocean magic set out on a perfect Saturday with sunshine and warm temps in search of wildlife. We headed east in Juan de Fuca into Haro Strait. We made our way to Spieden island where we caught glimpses of the goats who inhabit the island. As quoted by Wikipedia; “Spieden Island is a privately owned island (James Jannard—founder and major shareholder of Oakley, Inc.[1]) in the San Juan Archipelago in the U.S. state of Washington. It has a land area of 516.4 acres (209.0 ha) and no permanent resident population. In the 1970’s the island was used for big game hunting; game animals were imported and a hotel, airport, and small hangar built to accommodate visitors. This no longer occurs due to the risk of shots carrying across to highly populated San Juan Island. The resident animal population still includes exotic animals such as Mouflon sheep from Corsica and Sika deer from Asia”.

We checked out the “mans club” which consists of a group of lounging Stellar sealions who were hauled out onto the rocks and some who appeared to be enjoying the sun. For the first time, I got to see what a walking sealion looks like,

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Ocean Magic Marine Wildlife Adventure April 22 12:15

Capt. Scott slipped the Ocean Magic out of Victoria’s inner harbor and out into a spectacular afternoon. The sun was shining and the waters calm, our search took us east past Trial Island and on to Hein Bank. Here Capt. Scott put us in excellent position to view Minke Whales. These gentle giants were feeding in the shallow water, breaking the surface for a quick breath. The water was alive with sea birds, picking off the abundant supply of feed. Mika and Liz filled our passengers with information and answered many questions on our marine adventure. Our trip then took us to Whale Rock where we saw Stellar Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagles, Cormorants and Rhinoceros Auklets. The water was alive with wildlife and our crew made sure we took it all in, a truly great afternoon on the water with Prince of Whales!
Clint “Orcawizard”

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Ocean Magic Adventure April 14 2011

Today was a rather wild ride on the Ocean Magic!. With captain Scott at the helm with naturalists Liz, Brandon, and Dan, we left the inner harbour in search of wildlife and encountered some active weather. I will admit that I find it rather thrilling and enjoyable as the Ocean Magic rides  well in rough seas. In April, we are not always  guaranteed to find cetaceans (killer whales, whales etc) but we do know that there is an abidance of wildlife in the Salish Sea while on our search. We headed east up Haro Strait in search of orca. Along the way, we stopped off at Kelp Reef to check out 2 bald eagles who assumed their dominant positions at the top of the reef marker. While looking quite impressive, a much larger and quite stealth flying object snuck up on the Ocean Magic from the stern (back of the boat) and it turns out the Canadian Armed Forces were out during family day. They gave passengers quite the thrill while arms waved from the helicopter to the boat. Upon closer inspection through my lens, there were three youths waving back at us. It was an unexpected and exciting encounter to be had by all!

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Ocean Magic Adventure April 9 2011

The thing about wild life viewing is you don’t know what you’re going to find. This means that once in a while we do not find any killer whales or other cetaceans on our trip. Today was one of those days. However, that being said, one can still really enjoy the adventure while finding other kinds of wildlife – which there is plenty of out there. That is what makes our pacific coast so amazing. We were the first whale watching boat out today so we went in search of killer whales on the way to Race Rocks ecological reserve. Upon arriving there, we found approximately 6 Elephant seals and 2 Stellar sealions not to mention tons of harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. There was a huge gathering of Pelagic Cormorants on one of the rocks as well. We then headed east through Juan de Fuca Strait  towards San Juan Island – the typical feeding grounds of the southern resident killer whales. We did not find any orca so we looped around to Discovery Island near Oak Bay in Victoria to take a look at the preserved beauty. Passengers were thrilled to see a Great Blue Heron,

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Ocean Magic Adventure April 2 2011

The Ocean Magic set out at 12:15 with lots of eager passengers in search of killer whales. As there have been transient (meat eating) killer whales sighted in the area over the past few days, we were certain we’d find more today however we were one of only a handful of whale watching boats out there so we were pretty much on our own to find them out in that vast ocean of ours. With captain Anthony at the helm along with whale “manifester” Mallard (who made a guest appearance), naturalist Liz and Biologist Mika, along with bloggers Orca Wizard and Orca Magic, we headed east through thick clouds into open sun as we went north in Haro Strait. Along our travels passengers were delighted to see a variety of other wild life such as harbour seals, California Sealions, a pair of bald eagles and other sea birds. Just after an hour into our travels as we were nearing Active Pass, we heard that Jpod, our resident killer whale pod had been sighted just minutes from us! So we did a u turn and only minutes later found Jpod members spread apart traveling south west in Swanson Channel just South of Pender Island.

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Zodiac Wildlife Adventure, 1pm Zodiac, March 28th

Our weather continues misty and overcast, hardly Spring like, however, warmer and sunnier days are on their way! Even when the skies threaten rain, we head out in one of our yellow Zodiacs in search of wildlife. There is always something interesting to find. With Skipper Mark at the controls of the 1pm zodiac, and a full boat load of guests from New Zealand, Britain, Calgary and Edmonton, we headed south from the harbour in search or Orca. Although some had been seen from shore earlier in the day we were unable to locate this group, so headed north up Haro Strait in search of Transient Killer Whales that had been reported. We came upon these ‘ WILD’ stealth hunters, marine mammal hunters, traveling fast, in the choppy water, toward Active Pass. Two or three females were porpoising and creating lots of white water. We observed that a tiny orca was among the group as well as a young juvenile.Young orca are always a big hit with our guests. Two tall dorsal fins foraging off by themselves indicated that the males were busy chasing their favourite food, Harbour Seals. All too soon, these magnificent animals headed into Active Pass under the watchful eye of three Steller Sea Lions that were lounging in shallow water at Helen Point.

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Winter Wildlife Adventure Tour Jan 8

A little wind in the air and some chop on the water set the scene for our Prince of Whales Winter Wildlife adventure. Mark, ‘Mallard’, our 12.30pm skipper headed the yellow zodiac out of the harbour and turned east. There were some heavy winds and seas developing out west this afternoon so our knowledgeable skipper took us to the southern tip of San Juan Island, east from Victoria, where at Whale Rock we had great encounters with the large Steller Sea Lions and Cormorants on the algae covered rocks. We had plenty of sunshine in this area and traveled north along the shoreline of this scenic island were we found three large Bald Eagles nests and one adult and one immature eagle high above in the trees. Our trip then took us across Haro Strait where the water was flat calm and several Dall’s Porpoise were seen. They were very illusive, but a female and her little one close beside her, were photographed. The scenery was spectacular. We then visited Chain Islets off Oak Bay, and viewed some Harbour Seals sunning themselves on rocks close to the water’s edge. As we entered the harbour our guests from New Zealand,

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Winter Wildlife Adventure Tour Dec 28

Our experienced and knowledgeable skipper, Mark took the yellow zodiac out of the Victoria Harbour and headed us south west in search of some of the wildlife that can be seen in these rich, cold waters. It wasn’t long before we found several Harbour Porpoise foraging in the currents of the ebb tide. Several bait balls were evident as many gulls congregated around them. Unfortunately it was a grey afternoon and there was a fair size chop on the water in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so our skipper headed us in shore where we found calmer water. Here we were able to marvel at the scenic and rugged coast line and its variety of vegetation, bird and animal life. There were Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Bufflehead Ducks and other sea birds. A stop over at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve gave us looks at a Bald Eagle, Cormorants on rocks and a host of big blonde Steller Sea Lions. As we headed back into the harbour we observed a Canadian coast guard vessel docking. Our visitors from Russia, Australia, Mexico, South Dakota and Victoria enjoyed their wildlife adventure with Prince of Whales.
Marie,

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Ocean Magic Adventure Nov 3 12:15

The Ocean Magic set sail out of the Victoria Harbour at 12.15pm with Capt. Anna at the helm. Scott and Dan were are Naturalists for the afternoon and they shared their knowledge with our guests. Several visitors from The USA and Europe were on board to enjoy the magic of the wildlife here on the coast. Sunshine was the order of the day and we had whales… the really big ones! Humpback whales were seen south and west of Victoria. We observed two initially taking deep dives and lifting their Flukes high so we could see the unique colouration on the underside before they dove. Off in the distance three more were observed traveling together. A mother and her calf and a familiar 4 year old called ‘Split-fin’. Another two Humpback Whales showed up not far off Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. It was amazing to see these behemoths foraging for small schooling fish below the surface. To complete our wildlife adventure, we took in the sights and sounds of the Harbour Seals, and Steller Sea Lions all lounging on favourite rocks at Race Rocks Lighthouse. There were plenty of sea birds on the surface of the water including small Bonaparte’s Gull on their migration.

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