Today was what we have come to call a classic Blackfish Sound day—calm water, sunshine, humpbacks every which way, Dall’s porpoises coming to ride the bow wave, orca passing through, sea lions, minke whales, and this time, even a coho in our net.
We caught the fish as we left Freshwater Bay this morning, trolling up the shore of Swanson Island. At that point we turned to cross Blackfish, seeing humpback blows at the top of Hanson Island. The sea was glassy and we were planning to just hang out in Blackfish and see who showed up. We heard a report of orca coming down the back of Malcolm Island, so we headed up that way and when we found them just above Donegal Head, shut down and pulled out a head sail to keep pace. It was quite a large group, slowly moving south, foraging and doing lots of spy hopping and tail lobbing. A humpback breached a bunch of times well ahead of us—huge splashes as he crashed back into the water. The orca spread out in Cormorant Channel and we moved into Weynton Pass to look for the eagle nest in the Plumper Group. We had heard there was a young one getting ready to fly and we did see some flapping around, but couldn’t get Snug in close enough for a clear view. Just below the nest, a sea lion laboriously hauled himself out and posed for photographs. By then it was getting to be beer time, so we crossed Weynton heading for our anchorage in the Pearse Islands. As we got near the islands, what we thought was an orca came towards us, close to shore. The next time we caught a glimpse of fins, we realized it was two minkes working around the edge of the islands, not orca at all. We dropped the anchor in a little bay at the edge of the Pearse group, with a lovely view east down Johnstone Strait.