A Mitlenatch day-trip

A Mitlenatch day-trip
by Marg Reckenberg, 29 June 2017.

What a warm, sunny, calm day as the twelve of us set out for Mitlenatch Island aboard the Misty Isles with Captain Mike Moore and assistant Amy.  We left Lund Harbor at 10 am after a quick stop at Nancy’s Bakery.  Then we were on our way, for the 2 hour trip past Major Rock, then through Baker Passage between Hernando Island and Twin Island.

Mike showed us our course on the marine map and told us interesting tidbits about the islands that we past.  We saw lots of white jellyfish in the water en route and an eagle skimming along the water with a large fish.  The eagle could not get airborne and had to struggle just to land his fish on shore.  Mike explained the optical illusion of Mitlenatch looking close but, in fact, it took us another 45 min. before we arrived.

The Island is surrounded by a fairly shallow rocky shoal so we anchored and half our group went ashore by zodiac.  (Note from Misty Isles crew – remember to bring water shoes as a dry docking is not always possible).  The group on shore looked at wildflowers – including one prickly pear cactus in bloom – the island has a desert-like climate and we visited the naturalist cabin and then the nesting areas of the seagulls and many of us saw for the first time gull chicks scooting under their Moms.

Meanwhile the other half of the group went around the island in the zodiac with Mike.

He was wonderful at pointing out the nests of Pelagic and Double-crested Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Harlequin ducks, Pigeon Buillemots, and Great Blue herons as well as crows, ravens, eagles and gulls.  We saw plenty of harbor seals and Stellar sea lions.  From their growling noises we understood where they got their name.  Then these huge sea lions began to take to the water – and soon afterwards we saw a nearby humpback whale.  If this wasn’t bonus enough we saw a humpback further away breaching.

It just doesn’t get better than this.  Of course, the two groups switched places halfway through the allotted time.  At the end of the leisurely afternoon we headed back to Lund.  Of note, on our return trip, was a brown scummy substance, widely spread across the water.  Mike thought this was likely an algae bloom that the changing tides brought our way.  It gave the boat’s wake a muddy appearance.

We returned, feeling that the day had been truly magical!

Terry Brown & Jude Abrams – “Whopping whales and wee fish”

Terry Brown & Jude Abrams – “Whopping whales and wee fish”
by Andrew Bryant, 19
January 2017.

Humpbacks breaching in Jervis Inlet. Click on the to see the video!
Humpbacks breaching in Jervis Inlet. Click on the image to see the video!
(4 minutes)

Noted amphibiographers Terry Brown and Jude Abrams travelled all the way from Okeover Inlet to speak about some creatures we hold dear, those whopping big humpback whales – and the herring, anchovies and krill that whales (and many others) depend upon.

Using videos, sound clips and stories, Terry and Jude wove a marvelous tale about the history, ecology, and recent resurgence of humpbacks in local waters.

We learned much about their recent population recovery, and about the threats these giants still face.

"Kelp Creature", a humpback that suffered a boat collision - T. Brown
Here’s Kelp Creature, an unfortunate humpback that suffered from a boat collision.
Click on the image to watch the close encounter!
(32 seconds)

The harpoon-laden boats may be gone from Blubber Bay and Whaletown, but hazards remain. Collisions with boats, sound pollution, oil spills, and harvesting of krill, anchovies and herring all pose threats to the success of humpbacks in local waters.

What is needed, said Terry and Jude, is a new – and closer – relationship – between these gentle behemoths of the deep, and ourselves. We agree!

Pacific white-sided dolphins, Powell River, 2013 - A. BryantClick on the imaqe to watch Terry's great footage from 3 January 2017 - how many were there?
Pacific white-sided dolphins, Powell River, 17 May 2013 – A. Bryant
Click on the imaqe to watch Terry’s great footage from 3 January 2017
How many can you count?
(38 seconds)

Mike Moore – “Antarctica”

Mike Moore – “Antarctica”
by Andrew Bryant, 19 November 2015.

Our dear friend Captain Mike Moore took time off from skippering the ever-faithful Misty Isles and driving naturalists hither and fro in his zodiac, to show us what he does in the “off-season”…

…which is driving naturalists hither and fro…in a zodiac…in Antarctica!

The photos were breathtaking, and some of the stories behind them are incredible.  Mike is a wonderful raconteur.  I knew that krill was important, but had no idea of the pervasive prominence of pink poo!

Nor did I know about the recently successful rat eradication program on South Georgia, or the historical significance of the wrecked factory whaling ship Guvernøren, or why there would be a bronze statue of a particular Chilean tug captain  on Elephant Island, or why one can see easily see different age-classes of penguins in a single photograph, or what some of the cascading impacts of climate change may be upon King Penguins and other creatures.

Incredible stuff.  I wanna go!

Susan MacKay – “Whales”

Susan MacKay – “Whales”
by Andrew Bryant, 22 Oct 2015.

Susan Mackay is a long-time club member, founder of Whales and Dolphins BC and President of the non-profit Wild Ocean Whale Society (WOWs).  She’s also a member of the Marine Mammal Response Network, a group that responds to reports of injured, distressed or dead marine mammals.

Susan spoke to us about the various species of whales that frequent our local waters, and included some fascinating videos and hydrophone recordings. She brought things clearly into focus by describing the incredible krill-based food chain, the basis of much of our marine ecosystem.  She also emphasized the value in reporting whale observations, which allow both researchers and the public to better understand whales and their hunting behaviors.

As always, Susan spoke with an in-depth knowledge that only comes from spending many, many hours on the water with these fantastic leviathons!

Susan MacKay – “Whales, dolphins and porpoises”

Susan MacKay – “Whales, dolphins and porpoises”
by Janet Southcott, 15 April 2010

Susan MacKay has worked with local whale, dolphin and porpoise populations for years.  She has collected lots of fabulous pictures and sounds and information about them that she wished to share.   She provided useful information if you happen to see something really big swimming in the ocean along our coast!