One of my favorite things about our annual Marine Mammals photo tour, is that you never know what to expect. While we expect to see Humpback Whales, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and Orcas, we never know when or where they are going to pop up and which is going to steal the show.
This year, my personal thoughts are the Sea Otters stole the show, but others on the trip might disagree. We encountered several Sea Otters bringing up various things from the ocean floor, and displaying an all you can eat buffet for us. Their hauls included various urchins, clams, and even crabs. It was also a lot of fun to watch them when they brought up a clam and banged them against their special rock to get it. Besides just eating, we also had the opportunity to watch them preening their fur, with their pups, wrapped in kelp, and surprisingly just hanging out in the middle of the strait (in very deep water).
It was not just a trip of Sea Otters though, we also had a lot of other action. Including Humpback Whales breaching, lunge feeding, and tail lobbing (no, not all by one humpback whale). When we visited some of the Sea Lion rock haul outs, we got to see a few battles (both in and out of the water), jumping from the rocks, and gathering in a big group and swimming towards our zodiac.
The Bald Eagles didn’t want to be out-done by the marine mammals. We had several opportunities to nab some shots of them while fishing at bait balls, and ended up cursing the gulls that photo-bombed some of our shots.
Sticking with the title of this blog post, one of the most unique and unexpected things that we witnessed this year, and it was the very first for our experienced skipper, was Harbor Seals mating. What we thought was a dead Harbor Seal floating just at the surface, ended up being two in the midst of action. While it did produce great photos, it was cool to GoPro, and even cooler to just see.
So when people ask me what my favourite trip is, and I mention the Marine Mammals, I think you are starting to get a picture as to why. Even after four trips, I come away each year with different highlights, and unique photos from one year to the next, and I’m already looking forward to next year.
I’m starting to post some images from the trip on my Recent Photos page, and will post more as I get through them (there are so many to choose from).
I don’t have too much time to relax, as I’m already prepping for my next journey Into the Great Bear Rainforest, where I will be leading two trips this year.