August 6- Whales in Juan de Fuca

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Humpback Whale surfaces southwest of Victoria this morning with white pectoral fins visible underneath the water.

Multiple Humpback Whales 

What a day! We decided to take a southwest direction out of the harbour, into Juan de Fuca Strait. This is where we began our search, scanning the area for possible signs of an animal.

Our search was successful, as we encountered four Humpback Whales in the western waters between Victoria and Race Rocks Lighthouse. We witnessed each of these whales surface, listening to their thunderous breaths as they exhaled. We even got the opportunity to see a Humpback’s pectoral flippers beneath the surface of the water (see above image). These  are large, measuring about 1/3 of the total body length.

We saw the whales’ dorsal fins break the surface while they rounded their back. This behaviour is often followed by tail-fluking, where an animal will raise its massive tail clear above the surface of the water before diving. We saw impressive behaviour multiple times! These are some of the largest whales in the world; they have migrated to the Salish Sea for the spring and summer in order to feed on krill and schooling fish.

While west, we made a stop at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and were fortunate to observe more marine mammals. We saw a Sea Otter lying in a kelp bed as well as some massive male Steller Sea Lions hauled out on the rocks.

It was a fantastic day for biodiversity, and we were thrilled to witness so many massive gentle giants in the Salish Sea!

To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below:

August 6- Four Humpback Whales

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