Sightings Report September 16

September 16, 2014

As I’ve alluded to in the past, the other marine staff (zodiac skippers and Ocean Magic crew) leave me notes from their trips throughout the day so I can summarize all of our sightings and put them in these reports for you. Obviously things are different every day and some people inevitably have better days than others, but I think today was probably the best “all-around” day  of the season for everybody on the water!

Things got started, as usual on the Vancouver side. Ocean Magic brought Captain Anthony, Frist Mate Brittany, and Naturalist Wilma across Georgia Strait to fin resident killer whales, first thing! They stopped Granny, still kicking at 103 years old, and her adopted son Onyx. They observed the whale chasing salmon and after catching it, Onyx breached and spy hopped! They were the only boat in scene which always makes for a magical experience.

Then they picked up the T060’s in the middle of Haro Straithunting harbour porpoise! Another breach and spy hop, and Wilma officially declared this “a WOW day!”

Matt and Torin also had special experiences on the zodiacs today. Instead of giving me a general impression of what he saw on the water, Matt likes to provide specific encounters. Today he wrote “1st trip: J34 & J26 surfing the 4ft wake of a heavy container ship. Spectacularexplosive show. 2nd trip: Orcas fornicating, P.W.S. dolphin bow riding & Dall’s breaching. Best overall day of the season for me.”

Torin saw yet another group of killer whales, the transients called T018’s which Ocean Magic II picked up on her first trip as well. They are a tight knit family of four, easily identifiable by a male with a strangely flopped-over dorsal fin.

On Ocean Magic II’s second trip Captain Scott, First Mate Jen, and Naturalists Rowan and Marek caught up with the rest of the residents south of San Juan Island. We found mostly J’s and L’s and as Matt pointed out, they were having a great time socializing! We got to have another close look at the new baby, L120, and as a special pleasure, a Pacific white-sided dolphin showed up in their midst! You know how we get about white-sided dolphins. These rare visitors are always treat to see, and this one rode our bow for almost 20 minutes!

The summer is drawing to a close, but the whales are sticking around. Come see them before they take off for the winter!

By Jennifer Dickson