Whale watching without the whales

A whale watching trip to remember, even without whales. We had a rare no "whale-day" this week but we still had a great time while we cruised around in the hope of finding some whales. Sometimes it just isn't our day but we got plenty of other wildlife to learn about and to admire!
Our boat full of passengers and crew was very glad when the rain went away and we went to see our favorite pinnipeds; the Californian Sea Lion & the Steller Sea Lion!

Californian Sea Lions resting on jetty off Vancouver
Californian Sea Lions

Hopes remained high as we travelled across the Strait looking for some whales to watch and into Active Pass to admire some more Pinnipeds; Pacific Harbor Seals!
These cute pinnipeds look adorable but are expert predators themselves, just look how well fed they look in the photos below! Feeding on a diet of fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, they also like to spend time resting and warming themselves on rocks.

Harbor Seal group by Vancouver
Harbor Seals
Harbor seal resting on seaweed off Vancouver Island
Relaxed Harbor Seal
Young Harbor Seals off Mayne island
Young Harbor Seals

There were a few curious Steller sea lions in the water near these seals too but what took all our attention was a River Otter running along the bank! Our first River Otter of season 2023!

Can you spot him in the photo below?

River Otter spotted near Vancouver on Mayne Island
River Otter

River Otters ironically are often found around saltwater habitats. Adapted to run fast on land and swim fast in water, these little guys are very successful predators found around the shores of the gulf islands and Vancouver.

Birdwatching Vancouver
Juvenile Bald Eagle

And of course, an eco tour around the Salish Sea isn't complete without a Bald Eagle sighting! The young Bald Eagle pictured above, was just one of many eagles we spotted that day.

There is a hidden world of wonders under the surface of the Salish Sea and sometimes we can get a sneak peek with a low tide! In the photo below, there is an abundance of unique creatures all adapted to life in the intertidal.
One species that are really eye catching are the huge purple sea stars (Pisaster ochraceus).

Marine life of Vancouver
Purple Sea Stars
marine life waters off Vancouver
So much life!

These guys are carnivores and will feed on bivalves, barnacles and certain limpets, which can also be seen on this rock.

Sea anemones are able to survive when the tide goes down by contracting all their tentacles inside their body cavity so they don't dry out. This makes them look like a squishy blob attached to the rock, but they're still alive!

Can you spot the green and white anemones pictured above?

Harlequin duck birds waddling in Vancouver waters
Harlequin Ducks

More unique wildlife sights with some Harlequin Ducks! These spectacular looking ducks may be small but they are hardy fellows! Found around turbulent river and coastal waters, they are natural whitewater enthusiasts!

The cherry on top of our whale watching trip turned coastal excursion around the Gulf Islands was this adorable young Harbor Seal!

Harbor seal pup found off Vancouver
Young Harbor Seal

Whale watching can be a fantastic experience that many can remember for the rest of their life but sometimes reality doesn't line up with our hopes. Reality can be harsh especially when expectations aren't met but this can also be very rewarding as we can check in with the overlooked or lesser apricated creatures that share the whales territory!

Thanks to all who joined Captain Scott and Naturalist Shauna along with photographer Ruana! We look forward to seeing you all again!

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