Sightings Report September 24

September 24, 2014

Another beautifulrainless day on the water today, despite the weather forecast’s attempt to thwart us! These cloudy days are great because everyone is well dressed given that it’s cooler on land, so passengers end up being very comfortable on the open water. When it’s gorgeous and sunny, people tend to underestimate the temperature drop on the water and end up being cold (of course that’s what the zodiac suits and hot chocolate on Ocean Magic II are for!).

So it was with lots of cozy, bundled up passengers that we sent Rush on zodiacs and JeffCaseyRhonda and me on Ocean Magic II, into the Salish Sea. We’re so excited to have Rhonda back from doing very noble survey work in Alaska! She’s an asset on Ocean Magic II and on the zodiacs, and it just hasn’t been the same without her. Welcome back Lady Hawk!

I’ve been saying this since the start of September but the main reason why I love September is the multi-species trips. Obviously we try to show our guests as much wildlife as possible, whether it whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, birds, or sheep! But usually the focus is on one big cetacean, typically either orcas or humpbacks, and then looking for other wildlife, time permitting.

September is a magical month when the resident killer whales are still around, and the humpbacks really start to move in to the area. So it’s the time of year we’re most likely to see multiple cetacean species on the same trip. And today was no exception!

We encountered J-pod at the south end of San Juan Island. All the usual suspects were there including Granny J2 and Blackberry J27. These guys were travelling steadily north in tight family groups of 3 to 6. These dense collections of a few whales are ideal for viewing and provide valuable insight into how these whales organize themselves socially.

Then it was on to cetacean number two, the humpback whale! It was our good buddy Split Fin, chilling around Lime Kiln Lighthouse. He was mostly likely feeding because he was popping up all over the place and refused to pick a direction of travel. He (or she!) was easy enough to follow though because he never went far and was doing super short dives. We were perfectly positioned to see his flukes several times before heading back to Victoria.

On the way home there was time for a quick stop at Trial Island for some harbour seals (aka rock sausages) before pulling into the harbour. Rush went out again at 3:30, and I’m sure is having an equally lovely trip!

Ocean Magic II is confirmed for tomorrow at 12:15 and we’ve already got two zodiacs confirmed in the morning as well!

By Jennifer Dickson