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As we cruised through the harbour we had a couple of wildlife signs that gave the crew a premonition that this morning was going to be a special one.  First it was a family of River Otters swimming just off the bow of the Marauder IV. Their long tails flicked up into the air as they splashed down in the water. They continued on their merry way and so did we. The next wildlife surprise that came to us was a Great Blue Heron that swooped low over our covered vessel. We hadn’t even left the harbour and we had already spotted two different species!

Humpback Whale Blow
Humpback Whale, Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

It didn’t take long before we had ourselves a whale, a Humpback Whale. Its blow was evident after only 10 minutes or so of cruising South. We slowed up to it and watched in delight as it surfaced and dove. The whale wasn’t fluking (lifting its tail out of the water). Perhaps there was enough food close to the surface and the whale was choosing to save energy reserves. Or it may just have been shy to show its tail! At one particular moment it gave everyone on the boat a fright when it popped up on the opposite side to everyone’s gaze. You heard it before you saw it, the two blowholes working hard to expel the hot air from the Humpback’s lungs.

Pair of Humpbacks
A pair of Humpback Whales, Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

We continued our adventure at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve where were met with lots of lazing harbour seals and a lone Bald Eagle perched on the rocks. The eagle took off in flight giving a great demonstration of its large wingspan that can grow up to 2m! As we edged closer to the main Island we were in for a right treat. Harry Otter, the local celebrity, was home and not only that he was energetically swimming alongside the boat. Perhaps not to be out done by his River Otter relatives, the Sea Otter swirled and tumbled taking periodic breaks on his back. It was only when he took a rest that we could actually verify it was him. He looked very different with his normally fuzzy face of fur slicked back with water. Even a crew member that has been with Springtide for many years couldn’t believe his eyes!

Sea Otter
Harry the Sea Otter. Photo by Captain Yves, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

Our next stop was with yet more Humpback Whales, four of which we got a good view of and there were definitely more blows far off in the distance, a Humpback gathering. At one point three Humpback whales were travelling in unison, not only was the loud sound of their combined exhales worthy of goosebumps, they decided to go for a deep dive showing their flukes one after another, after another. A feat certainly fit for an Olympic synchronized swim team!

The wildlife were certainly awake and active this Wednesday morning.

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