Sightings Report October 30

October 30, 2014

Today Ocean Magic II had the pleasure of embarking on a special charter. We were out at 1pm and had an action packed trip!

It was me and the boys today! The crew included Captain Jeff, me as First Mate, and Naturalists Matt and Rowan, as well as our Photographer Marie. As always, we work with all the other boats on the water to find whales, and it was definitely a team effort today. We had no reports in the area, and we were the first boat off the dock.

But that didn’t stop us from finding whales! We found humpbacks! Three of them!

Now, that might not sound like a lot, but remember, humpbacks are not social whales. They don’t travel in pods (that’s a dolphin thing). They congregate in large numbers around their breeding grounds and in their feeding grounds, but that doesn’t make them social. They don’t travel with the same individuals for long periods; mothers and calves are rarely seen together after they’re weaned!

In fact, three is the largest number of humpbacks I’ve personally seen traveling together… ever! There was two big ones and one small one, so it was likely a mother and calf pair, and another one, apparently just hanging out. These guys appeared to be actively feeding as there were massive bait balls ALL OVER THE PLACE. Gulls and Common murres just going crazy over schools of bait fish, and humpbacks going right through the middle of it all. Quite the sight.

Then on to Race Rocks where the birds actually took centre stage. The pinnipeds were all accounted for; about 4 Northern elephant seals on the ramp near the lighthouse, California sea lions around the corner from them, Steller sea lions on their favourite rock across the channel, and Pacific harbour seals on every other rock in between. As soon as we arrived however, a bald eagle nearby took off, causing every single bird on the rocks to take flight.

This stunning raptor did a circle, sending the gulls into an absolute frenzy, it was very cool to behold. Then we looped around the far west side of the rocks to look for our rare visitors, the brown pelicans! We found one, looking very disgruntled in the rain.

Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and Twitter for Naturalist Matt’s photo of the pelican. It’s hilarious, and slightly terrifying. Seriously, this bird looks MAD.

Another successful day on the water. And tomorrow is our last one of the season! Come join us before Ocean Magic II comes out of the water until April! It won’t be spooky I promise.

Just scarily awesome.

By Jennifer Dickson