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 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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Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure March 26 2011

Captain Anthony slipped the Ocean Magic from its berth in Victoria’s inner harbour and took us out into the Salish Sea. Our trip took us east to Chatham and Discovery islands. Here the marine life was everywhere, harbour seals, blue herons, eagles and cormorants. We then crossed Haro Strait and headed to Whale Rock, this small island was home today to many Stellar Sea Lions and a pair of Bald Eagles. We also caught sight of Harbour Porpoise near the island. Our sharp eyed crew then spotted a huge group of Bald Eagles on a small nearby island, we slowly approached and observed over 20 Bald Eagles resting, flying and playing in the wind. Truly amazing. This was great wildlife viewing experience, our talented crew of Mika, Mark and Dan kept us informed of all we saw and answered all the questions posed by our passengers. Yet another wonderful time of the water with Prince of Whales!
Clint “Orcawizard”
Please note, all of the photographs are taken with telephoto lenses and are heavily cropped.

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Ocean Magic Wildlife Adventure March 6

The Ocean Magic slipped from the dock in Victoria’s Inner Harbor at 1 pm. Our Skipper Anthony took the Ocean Magic past the Victoria Breakwater and headed east. The clouds parted and the sun warmed us as we worked our way past the waterfront. Out trip then took us past Oak Bay and out past Kelp Reef then up Haro Strait. Here we cam across the Killer Whales of J Pod along with L87 from L Pod. These are Southern Resident Orca, the fish eaters. They were all spread out in small groups over an area of a few miles. Our skipper carefully put us in great position to view these amazing Killer Whales as they worked the waters in search of food. We had a great pass of two Mothers with their youngsters swimming along in their wake, taking advantage of the slip stream to save energy. We then made our way back to Victoria and along the way we spotted Dalls Porpoise, these 300 to 400 pound cetaceans zip through the water sending a rooster tail of water up as they break the surface to breath. Mother nature gave us a great March day, sunny, calm seas and a great wildlife show with Orca,

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Winter Wildlife Adventure Feb 13

There’s nothing like seeing wild marine mammals in our cold, but nutrient rich waters. Victoria sees an abundance of variety of wildlife when ever the Prince of Whales Zodiacs head out of the harbour, at this time of year. Sunday, was no exception, when Skipper Mark took us west of the harbour to ‘Albert Head ‘ ,where we had reports of inbound Orca. It wasn’t long before our knowledgeable skipper was able to identify who these Killer Whales were. It was apparent that this group consisted of mothers and their young, the family sub group, J17’s, members of our Southern Resident clan, JPod. This group have three youngsters, that were busy chasing fish and generally having a good time together. J 27, and J 34 , two males were seen as well as the J 22 family group. We left them doing what these wild animals like to do best, forage for fish in unpredictable patterns. We headed toward the Chain Islets at Oak Bay Flats, and saw several Harbour Seals, Harlequin Ducks, a pair of Bald Eagles and even a small fishing boat flying an oversized Canadian Flag. Upon our return to the harbour two young Long-tailed Ducks were seen.

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Winter Wildlife Adventure Feb 11

The Prince of Whales 12.30pm Zodiac left the harbour on Friday afternoon with international guests from Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Although it was overcast there was very little wind or chop on the water. Snug in our survival suits, Skipper Mark, headed us south and east to hopefully encounter some Orca. We search diligently and then had a call from one of our friends on shore, who had seen a few black dorsal fins 2 miles south of Victoria, through his spotting scope. This was great news! We found the four Transient Killer Whales, identified as the T30 family group, travelling in from the west. The big male T30A, split from the rest of the group to go forage on his own. The three others soon were seen chasing a Harbour Porpoise, that surface periodically while trying to flee. The churning sea water soon indicated the hapless animal had been dispatched by these apex hunters. The clean up crew of assorted gulls soon flew in to claim their share. We later found the big male Transient Orca foraging with a prey item, a possible Harbour Seal. A quick look for other wildlife led us to Trail Island where,

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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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Ocean Magic Adventure Oct 13 12:15

Every trip out there is unique. Today, I was able to encounter a few things I have never encountered in all the years I have been whale watching. To start out, the weather was perfect, blue skies, warm, flat calm seas – just like glass. We eagerly headed out of the inner harbour to look for killer whales at San Juan Island. Along the way, we saw many Dalls porpoises who were quite playful and in groups. We also saw harbour porpoises who are the smaller grey porpoise. Today was a perfect day for photographing their sleek black and white bodies. We continued on and found several minke whales feeding east of Beaumont Shoals. We observed a very large fish ball where many birds and gulls congregated, then all of a sudden the birds dispersed and a minke whale appeared in the centre of the bait ball, smart whale! We continued to the south end of San Juan Island where there were 3 humpbacks and members of Lpod spread apart inshore and offshore. Today was the first time that I have seen humpbacks and orcas together and managed to get them in a photo and video clip as well.

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