Author Topic: Marine Education & Research Society/MERS Fundraising Trip/Mackay Whale Watching  (Read 205 times)

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Offline boonibarb

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i have a friend who, two years ago, wanted me to go on this fundraising trip for MERS.
Instead, i leaped at THIS trip, which you can read about here.

This year, she asked me again if i wanted to do the fundraising trip & i sure did.
i was a bit wondering about 38 supporters on one boat, & it being crowded & noisy, but it was fabulous, & i was really glad i went, & to support a very good cause.



The link to MERS, which explains what they are all about, is here.

The fabulous facebook post about the day by Jackie Hildering, featuring fotos WAY better than anything i got, is here.

wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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Okay.
So, we leave the day before, aiming for the 11 am ferry.
There are HUGE gravel trucks bringing over various gravels, often with a pup in tow, ingredients for the Beulah Creek culvert rebuilding project going on.
If two full trucks are on the ferry, there is only room for six cars, because of weight restrictions.
So we just head for the ferry, & hope for the best.
i leave home later than planned, & as i am parking, the ferry is loading already!
Over half an hour early.
& i want to be ON that ferry!
i quickly park & load up my gear & fortunately my friend comes running from the lineup to help me.
Her car is already in line & i am jumping in with her.
The other cars are already passing her.
We toss my stuff in the car & head for the ferry.
The crew fella is telling us to stop.
Drat, two cars ahead of us & we aren*t going to get on.
Then he smiles & waves us on & we high five each other as we drive on the ferry.
We*re off!
It takes a lot to get me off the Island, but i am looking forward to this trip.
My friend drives, & has arranged everything, i just get to go along!
We arrive at the far side of Denman & are in the line up for the next ferry.
But it is a long wait.
This ferry is sticking to the schedule & we are 40 minutes early.
But it is a beautiful sunny day & at least we are on the next ferry.

i love the drive up to Port McNeill.
i love being driven & just enjoying looking out the window.
We stop in Courtenay at Big Foot Doughnuts & get yummy broccoli cheese soup with a most excellent cheese & onion biscuit & i get a doughnut to go!
It*s all about the food, ya know.  :mhihi

We make a stop in Campbell River for my friend.
Fine with me!
We are in no rush.
The boat trip is the next day at 8:30 am.

Jackie expressed interest in having dinner with us, so it is no surprise when we get a text from her asking us when we will arrive.
No mention of dinner.
We tell her we arrive around dinner time, hint hint.
& we do!
MERS has a new office that they are very proud of, right next to the liquor store!
So it is very easy to find.
They are trying to educate the boater public about the resurgence of the Humpback Whale.
We hunted them to the brink of extinction & now they are bouncing back!
But Humpback aren*t like Orca.
They don*t travel in a predictable direction.
They can pop up anywhere at any time.
They also don*t have sonar, like Orca, so it isn*t sure how they find their prey or if or how they know when a boat is nearby.
& they are suffering the consequences.
A Humpback was delivered, dead, to port, on the bow of a cruise ship.
They are found entangled in fish net gear.
They are struck terribly by propellers, & have the open wounds & leftover scars to prove it.
So, the study & education*s office being on the trek from the dock to the liquor store is perfect!
You can*t miss it.
There are three of them working in the office, & they all look tired, Jackie especially.
She is too busy to come to dinner with us, & is regretful.
We assure her that it is okay & get the heck out of there so that they can go back to work.
Off we go to our hotel, which is nearby, & right on the waterfront & a short walk from where we meet the next morning.
We check in, & then let*s have dinner!
As i am locking my door i hear a familiar call, an Eagle!
My friend thinks this is not a very picturesque setting, but, hey, the lighting is perfect.
 
september 27 2019 18:31 - Eagle!
 

 


Good supper.
Lovely evening.
We go for a walk as the Sun sets.

Neither of us have a particularly good night of sleep.
Both of us are watching the clock, every time we wake up.
We make a date to have breakfast at 7:20, & i am awake early, raring to go.
i spot an Eagle, perched on a power pole.
Two blessing now, for our trip.

september 28 2019 07:13 - Eagle!



Nothing like a triple shot americano & a nice breakfast to start the day.
We are eyes on the clock, the whole time.
Gotta check in between 8:30 & 8:45.
We head back for a quick stop at our rooms, then head for Mackay Whale Watching office, right around the corner.
As we are walking, my friend gets a text - are you close?
It is Jackie.
We turn the corner & the whole group is there already, waiting for US!
We are the last ones to arrive.
& we were the closest ones to the meeting spot.
Sigh...
Off we go, down to the boat & our day of adventure.
If you clicked the link to Jackie*s facebook fotos, at the end of them you can see the group of us & the boat we went on.


 
link to my fotos page - 
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline Cawatcher

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Wow What a fun trip and Jackie's photos are fantastic!

Offline Tigerlady105

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Great narrative, booni...  I'm going to look at the photos now.    :eclove
Commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature; he finds it attached to the rest of the world". ~John Muir

Offline boonibarb

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Okay, so finally getting back to this story.
A lot of the fotos i got weren*t fabulous, but i am going to make the best of what i got.
Here is my first view of a Humpback blow!
 
october 28 2019 09:44 - Humpback blow



& this is the Humpback Conger, trap feeding, a behaviour first documented by MERS in this area.
The Humpback hangs out at the surface where the juvenile Herring are & waits with his mouth open til there are enough Herring & then he scoops his big mouth closed.
That*s him that i*ve just caught in the lower left corner.



Another Humpback surfacing to breathe, & there are Sea Lions all over the rock in the upper right hand corner.
MERS are able to identify almost every Humpback we see, even just by this dorsal fin, which identifies them, like a nose does us.



Okay, so my camera isn*t the best for this kind of situation.
It takes me a while to find the subject, then zoom in, then something happens & the camera doesn*t focus in time.
So i switch to video, which seems to work better.
There are huge groups of Birds, both in the air & on the surface of the water, & they are feeding on juvenile Herring.
The Birds that dive, concentrate them into a ball & scare them to the surface where the flying Birds pick away at them.
We are told to keep our eyes on these scenes & wait wait wait...


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWpcRlpMfRY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWpcRlpMfRY</a>

The Birds in the air give you a big hint that someone is coming!


link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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september 28 2019 10:05 - surfacing & lunge feeding Humpback Whales

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fF3355THYw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fF3355THYw</a>

Okay, carrying on, i catch a nice blow!
 
september 28 2019 09:58 - breathing Humpback Whale



A Humpback passes close by.
Notice the scratches on & near the dorsal fin.



Same individual.



& again.



i LOVE these!

september 28 2019 10:18 - Common Murre



Oooooo!
 



link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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september 28 2019 10:19 - Humpback Whale diving





Head underwater, looking for food.



Orca!
We were seeing the A42 Matriline of Northern Resident Orca.



Still a bit of blow cloud left in the air.



i believe the females & young have the curved dorsal fin, like this one.
 



link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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september 28 2019 10:38 - Orca





A youngster blowing here.
Look how the front tip of their face is still underwater, yet you can see.






 



link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline Cawatcher

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What an experience

Offline boonibarb

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i am missing action off to my left, as i focus on these lovely Mew Gulls standing on fabulous Kelp!
So nice to see this, up here.
You almost never see any around Hornby any more.





i LOVED seeing these huge dorsal fins looming up out of the water.
They always appeared at an angle like this.



Then straightened up.



Looks like a Mum with a young one!



My friend wanted a foto of this Mountain that was in our view a lot that day.



Oooooooooo, i LOVE these Common Murre!
They make the loveliest sounds.
 



link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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september 28 2019 10:59 - Common Murre



Not the best foto, & the only one i got, but i wanted to know who this Bird was!
Jackie said Northern Phalarope.
She said the females arrive first, so perhaps this is a female.
i only ever saw the one.



Perhaps the same female & youngster as above.
i*ve caught the exhale of the youngster here.



Look at the water chuting off the back of the youngster*s dorsal fin here.



i catch a flock of Common Murre passing close by!
i am trying to catch the begging sound the youngsters make of their fathers!
It is t he sweetest sound!
The males only are here, caring for & feeding their youngsters.
You may be able to hear over the sounds of the people chattering?
i never really noticed the chattering on the boat that day, it was pretty good, but it sure shows up on the videos.
You can see the youngsters following & begging their fathers.

september 28 2019 12:00 - Common Murre

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0FkP-5vtQQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0FkP-5vtQQ</a>

 :heart


 



link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline boonibarb

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This was pretty fabulous to see!
 
september 28 2019 13:04 - Orca

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkorHjwmb6s" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkorHjwmb6s</a>

link to my fotos page -
 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/43214021@N08/
wooohoooo!

Offline gmadeb3

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For sure Booni,  how cool and thanks for sharing all those neat photos
A smile is the universal welcome- Max Eastman