July 23rd - Anvil the humpback and the T99's
What a morning! Lucky for us we heard of a report of a humpback not too far from Nanaimo, so we set off from the Nanaimo harbour and took our guests on a scenic boat ride through the gulf islands on the way to the humpback. Passing through Dodd's Narrows and en route to Porlier Pass, the humpback was slowly moving north.
With a pretty systematic display, showing us the fluke every third surface, everyone on board was able to identify the whale using the markings on the underside of the fluke. It was Anvil! With a mainly white fluke and a distinct thick black line down the middle and black spot on the right side of the dorsal fin, the guests on board were excited to play a game of match with our ID catalogue on board.
We were even treated to not one, not two, but three cartwheels (or tail lobs) in a row!! They were so quick but we were able to snap a few good shots, check it out below!
Of course we had to stop by and see our friendly harbour seals hauled out on the rocks. As an added bonus we saw a bald eagle perched up keeping an eye on those harbour seals just below!
In the afternoon, we took our guests a bit farther south and ventured down the Southern Gulf Islands. On the way, we stopped again to see the harbour seals and some noisy oystercatchers foraging just above them on the rocks. These small little birds are quite territorial when anything gets close to their nests, sometimes you can hear their high pitched bird calls in an attempt to fend off any intruders.
As we continued down the Southern Gulf Islands, we stopped around Coal Island where we watched a pod of orcas. It was the T99 family, milling around and travelling. Without any large adult males to show off their tall dorsal fins, sometimes identifying them can be tricky. However, one of T99's offspring, T99B (11 years old) has a noticeable nick on its dorsal fin that makes identification a lot easier for us on board!
On our way back home to Nanaimo, we passed by Anvil who was now heading south and our guests were treated to a quick flash of the fluke as Anvil took a deep dive. It was a lovely ending to a beautiful afternoon on the water.
We still have over 3 months of whale watching adventures ahead of us, don't forget to book your tour soon!