© Five Star Whale Watching/ Katie Smith. Image — A Humpback Whale known as “Split-Fin” surfaces to breathe (notice the cloud of mist), southwest of Victoria this afternoon; the dorsal fin and blowhole region are visible on the animal.
Humpback Whales, Sea Lions and Seals
Today was an incredible day for animal diversity in the Salish Sea! On both our morning and afternoon trips we had a great time encountering various animals, including some massive whales.
On both of our trips, we headed into Juan de Fuca Strait, southwest of Victoria. Even when we start or end in a similar area, no two routes are ever identical, including our sightings. In the morning, while in the Strait, we encountered three whales! These were Humpback Whales. In the afternoon, we recognized the first Humpback to be individual known as “Split Fin”. We can identify this whale due to its notched dorsal fin and scarring present.
While we encountered whales throughout our trips, we listened to their thunderous breathing and watched their breaths skyrocket into the air. Humpback Whales exhibit an interesting surface behaviour known as tail-fluking; an individual will raise its large tail (these may measure 13-18 feet wide) above the water before a deep dive. This allows a great view of the individual flukes- we were able to show our guests this various times as the whales dove.
In the afternoon, as we headed back east, we came across another Humpback Whale! The animal was travelling around Constance Bank, possibly forging food that can often congregate on this shallow ocean bank.
Humpback Whales are in the Salish Sea in spring and summer months to feed on the rich abundance of food, namely schooling fish and krill.
Later in both of our trips, we headed further west to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. In this area, we witnessed some more marine mammals, such as Steller Sea Lions, California Sea Lions and Harbour seals. The Steller Sea Lions we saw were all males, however the Harbour seals contain many mother-pup pairs.
We had a memorable time encountering such gentle giants and a number of diverse marine mammals. We all headed back, thrilled from our special encounters!
To view more images from today’s trips, click on the link below: