The winter has a hard, cold grip on the north coast of BC these days. A strong arctic front is hampering our research area for more than a week now. Strong northeasterly outflow winds are being funnelled through Douglas Channel and Whale Channel. Temperatures are well below freezing which makes it difficult to keep warm.  So to hear resident Orcas on our hydrophone in Whale Channel a few days ago, was a welcome surprise and filled our hearts with excitement. A4s and A5s were audible and though they started out faint, their calls became louder fairly quickly. It turned out that the whales were on their way south and it did not take long before they were in sight. It did not matter how cold it was, I had to go out in the boat to see who was there. I caught up to the whales as they were travelling by the seaweed camp of the Gitga’at in Casanave Pass. They were spread out and travelling fairly quickly. As soon as they entered the open water of Campania Sound they started to forage and were spread out in an even greater area. Needless to say that there was no way for me to try to get ID pictures of every whale present. Instead I decided to just idle along and watch the whales from a distance. All over sudden I heard two blows right behind the boat. A juvenile and calf had come over to the boat and decided to check me and Neekas out. It was one of those encounters that I will never forget in my life. Those two curious young whales stayed with me for 20 minutes as we travelled at about 2-3 knots. They would dive under the boat, turn upside down then surface right next to the boat, so close that the mist of their blows would cover my face. I could see their whole bodies below the clear water surface. So unbelievably beautiful. Neekas was busy running back and forth to catch a glimpse of the whales, she really enjoys the company of Orca as well. It was only after the two curious whales left that I noticed how cold it actually was. I was now in the middle of Campania Sound in an open boat and had to go back home facing the cold arctic winds. It took me a long 30 minutes to get back home and I was frozen to the bone but the encounter was well worth it and after reviewing the pictures I was able to find out that the matrilines present were:

A24s, A43s, A51s and A35 plus Springer. There might have been even more.