July 8- Nursing Humpback

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A mother and calf Humpback Whale surface south of Victoria in Juan de Fuca Strait this morning; the juvenile was seen nursing from its mother.

Mom and Calf Humpback Whales

This morning we headed southwest from Victoria, through Juan de Fuca Strait and into the beautiful Salish Sea.  Our search rewarded us when we spotted two Humpback Whales!

These animals were a mother and calf pair; we could see the smaller size of the juvenile compared to the mother whale. They were surfacing and breathing, right beside one another. The calf was taking short dives beside its mother and surfacing often; we determined it was nursing! Humpback Whales calves feed just like other mammals when they’re young and live off of their mother’s milk.

Humpback Whale calves will consume between 130-150 gallons of milk a day in order to receive adequate nutrients and enough energy to grow. The calf has travelled a long distance from its birthing grounds in Mexico or Hawaii to feed all summer in the productive Salish Sea.

We watched these whales as they dove and even tail-fluked, lifting their massive tails all the way out of the water.  These are one of the largest baleen whales in the world and it is remarkable to see not one, but two animals at once.

We had a fantastic time witnessing such a special moment between mother and calf, as well as seeing these gentle giants swim and travel in the Salish Sea.

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

July 8- Humpback Calf Nursing

 

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