Last night as the vibrant day faded into a dramatic golden evening, excited dolphin chatter began to tickle the underwater soundscape of Johnstone Strait. After about 40 minutes this joyful banter subsided, but the night sky began to come alive. At 11:15PM we were thrilled to notice the beginning of a true spectacle: Aurora Borealis just beginning to light up the northeastern sky in a two-hour long symphony waterfall of green and orange. It was absolutely stunning. As if the previous night's dolphins were a promise of what was to come, we woke first thing this morning to a few short but distinct Bigg's calls. The encounter was short-lived, and seeing that we did not know which hydrophone they were heard on, we tuned in even closer throughout the day awaiting their arrival. Sure enough at around 2:30PM, clear Bigg's calls arrived on our Main Rubbing Beach hydrophone. They continued off and on for about an hour. We were pleasantly surprised when at 6:05PM the distinct blows of a group of orca rang out from across Blackney Pass near Parson Light. For the first time in a while we rushed to our stations and enjoyed the passing while the usual documentation and discussion occurred. However, the heat shimmer across the water left our photos somewhat unhelpful. We saw four Bigg's orcas total; one distinct male and two females with a smaller orca alongside. Quite the mystery it was when even our friend and colleague Jared Towers proved unsuccessful in the search to photograph these whales today. Nonetheless, as another beautiful night sets in we wait patiently for the return of the orcas and the northern lights.

Quin
17 Apr 2021 22:14:33 PDT



No orcas present.

Early in the morning on April 12th, from the deck of OrcaLab, we could hear the distinctive blow of a humpback whale. In early April as humpbacks begin to arrive back to these waters, we are always so curious as to who they are and relived when we are able to recognize a whale returning from previous years. This was definitely the case this day as were able to identify this whale as Guardian. She is often one of the first humpback whales to arrive back from the long winter migration, every year, since 2011 and she spends long periods of time in Blackney Pass making her one of our favourites! Though we know she is female, to date she has not been seen with a calf. We are hopeful that her return will be one of many in the weeks to follow.

OrcaLab
16 Apr 2021 20:08:03 PDT



Spring has been moving along quite well for us all at the lab. Many projects and plans have been coming into action and we feel blessed to be enjoying some truly phenomenal weather. We witnessed a rather unfortunate sight at the beginning of this week. At around 8:50PM on Monday a whale began making its way across Blackney Pass quickly from Parson Bay. Within minutes of first spotting it, the whale showed up 'on our doorstep,' but something didn't look quite right. Assumed to be a Humpback at first, we noticed a very distinguished spine and visible distension of the whale's belly. It was lifting no more than just its head out of the water and thus we were unable to see a dorsal fin. It was the pigment and texture of the whale's skin that gave away the fact that this seemed to be a different species than a Humpback altogether. Sure enough, Jackie and Christie with MERS confirmed it to be a Grey Whale. We sighted and photographed it once more outside the lab again on Tuesday morning at 11:50AM. With further findings by Jared Towers, the whale proved to be very emaciated, and in generally not great shape. While this whale is still living, the health of this Grey Whale seems to echo similar trends being found in the Grey Whale Unusual Mortality Event highlighted by NOAA here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2019-2021-gray-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-west-coast-and

Quin
14 Apr 2021 23:06:33 PDT



Spring has been moving along quite well for us all at the lab. Many projects and plans have been coming into action and we feel blessed to be enjoying some truly phenomenal weather. We witnessed a rather unfortunate sight at the beginning of this week. At around 8:50PM on Monday a whale began making its way across Blackney Pass quickly from Parson Bay. Within minutes of first spotting it, the whale showed up 'on our doorstep,' but something didn't look quite right. Assumed to be a Humpback at first, we noticed a very distinguished spine and visible distension of the whale's belly. It was lifting no more than just its head out of the water and thus we were unable to see a dorsal fin. It was the pigment and texture of the whale's skin that gave away the fact that this seemed to be a different species than a Humpback altogether. Sure enough, Jackie and Christie with MERS confirmed it to be a Grey Whale. We sighted and photographed it once more outside the lab again on Tuesday morning at 11:50AM. With further findings by Jared Towers, the whale proved to be very emaciated, and in generally not great shape. While this whale is still living, the health of this Grey Whale seems to echo similar trends being found in the Grey Whale Unusual Mortality Event highlighted by NOAA here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-life-distress/2019-2021-gray-whale-unusual-mortality-event-along-west-coast-and

Quin
14 Apr 2021 23:05:14 PDT



No orcas present.

We had a rather exciting day at the Lab yesterday! While working on the hydrophone systems in the Lab Jeff spotted a group of orcas heading north on the far side of the Pass. We all scrambled as quickly as we could and managed to catch a glimpse just as the group disappeared into Blackfish Sound. Soon, Lisa who is staying at Double Bay, spotted the group. Jared Towers was alerted and he prepared to go out. When he arrived on scene he found the T007Bs engaged in a hunt. Meanwhile, back at the Lab we watched a second small group as they headed south. This turned out to be the T060s who headed toward the Parson Light and then into Parson Bay. The time was now about 2:30pm. By the time Jared came into Blackney Pass the T060s had turned around and were headed north toward White Beach Pass. Throughout both these encounters we had been hearing Bigg's calls in Johnstone Strait. Jared left the T060s and went looking for the third group but time and wind discouraged the effort. Later, we heard the calls nearer the Ecological Reserve.

Helena
06 Apr 2021 10:38:00 PDT



No calls but orcas nearby

There are now 4 more Bigg's orcs ion Blackney, opposite the Lab, generally heading north, though a bit back and forth, possibly hunting.

Lab crew
05 Apr 2021 14:29:57 PDT



No calls but orcas nearby

Orcas heading north in Blackney Pass, at least 2 including one male. Long dive times, so probably Bigg's.

Lab crew
05 Apr 2021 13:36:30 PDT



No calls but orcas nearby

We had a lovely surprise this afternoon - the A42s arrived back from their sojourn in Georgia Strait. For the past several years this has been their pattern and we we just beginning to imagine that they would come back sometime soon. They were just a little earlier than last year! Jared Towers went out and found them as expected heading west in Johnstone Strait. They had young A94 with them still. A94 is part of the A64s (A4 pod).

Helena
09 Mar 2021 22:12:13 PST



Superb sounds!!

Beautiful Bigg's orca calls in Blackfish Sound.

OrcaLab
27 Feb 2021 13:09:13 PST



Performing maintenance

We are still experiencing power issues at one of our sites. Unfortunately this means we have loss the ability to share the audio and video streams. The crew at Hanson Island have done everything they can. Fortunately help is on the way and we hope to be back soon with a better, stronger more stable signal. Thank you for your patience.

Helena
02 Feb 2021 18:27:46 PST



No orcas present.

Thanks to the sun, our Parson link is back, and we're streaming audio again!

Paul
30 Jan 2021 13:28:29 PST



Performing maintenance

Hello everyone! Our network is hanging on by a thread, and will likely go down later today unless we're able to get to Parson Island and run the generator we've installed to keep things running until new batteries get here. Wind is calming in Blackney, so it might be possible. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, hope you're all doing well, and staying safe!

Paul
29 Jan 2021 14:08:58 PST



Performing maintenance

Good morning everyone! We lost our network again early this morning, so are unable to stream live audio. Weather is too bad today to work on the problem, but tomorrow should be better. Apologies for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience. Stay safe in the meantime, please!

OrcaLab
26 Jan 2021 10:33:02 PST



Performing maintenance

Hi everyone, the Parson Island link in our network will go down soon, meaning that we will lose our internet connection at the Lab, so won't be able to stream audio or video.. We'll be back as soon as possible. Meanwhile take good care, please, and stay safe!

Paul
24 Jan 2021 16:46:47 PST



Orcas near mics.

we are listening to unusual excited Biggs Orca calls in Johnstone Strait right now

Lisa
21 Jan 2021 19:40:20 PST



Fabulous Biggs calls on Kaizumi hydrophone

Janie
21 Jan 2021 15:33:08 PST



Fabulous Biggs calls on Kaizumi Hydrophone

Janie
21 Jan 2021 15:32:06 PST



Distant calls audible.

We are hearing distant Biggs Orca calls and whistles in Johnstone Strait right now

Lisa
17 Jan 2021 17:42:41 PST



Beautiful close A5 Orca calls right now on Kaizumi Hydrophone

Janie
15 Jan 2021 16:23:03 PST



Distant A5 Resident Orca calls on CP with an echo Kaizumi

Janie
15 Jan 2021 08:48:53 PST



Distant calls audible.

we are hearing faint A5 calls in loud water noise from the strong winds in Johnstone Strait

Lisa
14 Jan 2021 18:19:19 PST



Superb sounds!!

Good News! We are able to stream audio and video once more thanks to a team effort today. The A23s are in Johnstone Strait where they have been the entire day. They have been and are very vocal. They first came west to Blinkhorn where they turned just after 4pm and began a slow return to the east against the tide. Lovely to be able to share their lovely sounds. You may have heard that A69 has had a new baby. They have had the A25s for company as well since arriving back January 4.

OrcaLab
13 Jan 2021 19:56:16 PST



Performing maintenance

Sorry everyone, we're still unable to stream live audio. It will take a while before we're back, but we will, as soon as possible!

Paul
09 Jan 2021 15:15:49 PST



We are listening to A% resident orca calls on CP

Janie
06 Jan 2021 13:56:01 PST



We are listening to A5 resident orca calls on CP

Janie
06 Jan 2021 13:55:28 PST



No orcas present.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone! Here's hoping you're all well and safe, and that 2021 will be a good year for our world, and a much better one for humanity. Take very good care of yourselves and each other, please.

Paul & Helena
01 Jan 2021 09:58:52 PST



Superb sounds!!

Happy news! We have the live streams, including audio back! Stay safe and well everyone!

OrcaLab
26 Dec 2020 16:03:46 PST



Performing maintenance

So sorry, its that time of year when we experience network problems. These dark days combined with poor weather conditions make maintenance an extra challenge and an exercise in patience. The OrcaLab network is down and it will not be before Saturday that we will be able to once again make an attempt to fix the problem. In the meantime, we wish everyone happy holidays. Please stay safe, be well. All the very best, Helena, Paul, Lisa and Janie.

OrcaLab
23 Dec 2020 14:31:28 PST



Performing maintenance

Good morning, everyone! We are still having network problems, so are unable to stream audio and video. Hopefully, we'll solve the problem eventually. Meanwhile, thanks for your patience, and please stay safe!

Paul
23 Dec 2020 10:24:11 PST



Performing maintenance

Good morning everyone! Another stormy day here and we've lost our internet connection at the Lab. Means we can't stream live audio. Apologies! We will work on the problem as weather allows, and hope to be back soon. Meanwhile, we hope you're all well, and in good spirits. Please stay safe!

Paul
19 Dec 2020 08:41:18 PST



Orcas near mics.

Biggs Orca calling in Blackfish Sound right now

Lisa
17 Dec 2020 16:20:48 PST



Biggs Orca vocal in Johnstone Strait

Janie
17 Dec 2020 14:02:13 PST



Orcas near mics.

Biggs Orca calls heard on Flower Island hydrophone just now

Lisa
16 Dec 2020 12:23:17 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback close on Parson Island hydrophone right now

Lisa
15 Dec 2020 23:23:50 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback sining in Johnstone Strait

Janie
14 Dec 2020 12:11:05 PST



Distant calls audible.

Biggs Orca calling in Johnstone Strait right now

Lisa
14 Dec 2020 00:54:09 PST



Superb sounds!!

A humpback to be heard in Blackfish Sound just now

Lisa
13 Dec 2020 01:26:42 PST



Superb sounds!!

Evening humpback on Parson island HP with some hopefully passing boat noise

Lisa
11 Dec 2020 17:24:32 PST



Superb sounds!!

Evening humpback song starting up in Blackfish Sound

Lisa
10 Dec 2020 17:18:19 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback vocalizing in Blackfish Sound in fading boat noise

Lisa
09 Dec 2020 17:36:50 PST



Superb sounds!!

Beautiful close humpback morning song on Parson Island right now

Lisa
09 Dec 2020 05:27:33 PST



Superb sounds!!

Biggs Orcas in Johnstone Strait and humpbacks in both Blackfish Sound and Johnstone strait at the same time!

Lisa
08 Dec 2020 20:09:42 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback song in Blackfish Sound has begun

Lisa
07 Dec 2020 20:16:53 PST



Superb sounds!!

Singing humpback in Blackfish Sound just now

Lisa
06 Dec 2020 17:47:36 PST



Superb sounds!!

Dreamy echoing humpback song in Johnstone Strait right now

Lisa
06 Dec 2020 05:17:03 PST



Superb sounds!!

Humpback singing in Blackfish Sound in this now

Lisa
05 Dec 2020 17:48:54 PST



Superb sounds!!

Evening humpback song in Blackfish Sound

Lisa
03 Dec 2020 18:35:09 PST



Superb sounds!!

Morning humpback song in Blackfish sound

Lisa
03 Dec 2020 07:25:07 PST



Superb sounds!!

Singing humpback in Blackfish Sound just now

Lisa
02 Dec 2020 20:36:06 PST



Superb sounds!!

Even better than the last! Great humpback. Last year they had quit for the season by now! Now in Blackney Pass.

OrcaLab
01 Dec 2020 22:31:02 PST