July 19 – Humpbacks, the Gentle Giants

© Five Star Whale Watching/Andrew Lees. Image — Tail fluke of a Humpback whale from today’s trip.

Humpback Whales

Today we encountered multiple Humpbacks feeding in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. These whales are called the gentle giants of the sea. They are baleen whales, meaning they filter their food using the long baleen present in the upper jaw instead of teeth. Baleen is made of keratin, a protein that also makes up our hair and fingernails.

When lunge-feeding, Humpbacks can engulf up to 2500 litres of saltwater and schooling fish. They then expel the water out through their baleen, leaving only the fish behind. This efficient strategy allows them to store ample energy for their long migrations down south to their breeding grounds.

Did you know that Humpbacks do not feed at all when they are in their breeding grounds?

We also encountered a familiar fluke on our evening trip today. It’s belongs to the same whale that we encountered two days earlier feeding in the Salish Sea.

To view more images from today’s trips, click on the following links.

Morning Trip

Afternoon Trip

Evening Trip

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