October 12 – A Sea of Humpbacks

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Humpback whale’s impressive 13-15 feet wide tail fluke that we saw during our trip today.

Humpback Whales

We had a fantastic day with multiple encounters with Humpbacks whales today! The whales were spread throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We could see Humpback whale blows wherever we looked.

How could we identify that the blows were from Humpback whales, you ask? Believe it or not, every whale species has a different shaped and sized blow, from which a trained eye can easily identify the species. Humpback whales have a tall, bushy blow. Grey whales, on the other hand, have a heart-shaped blow.

Humpback whales are gentle giants that frequent the Salish Sea waters in the summer time and fall to feed. Their main preys include krill and small schooling fish, such as: Pacific Herring, Pacific Pilchard, and Sand lance. More and more of these gentle giants are being spotted in the Salish Sea year after year — a phenomenon that is being coined ‘Humpback Comeback’.

During our trip today, we saw them doing both shallow and deep dives. As a result, we got to see their bushy blows, followed by their stubby little dorsal fins, their strong and muscular caudal peduncle, and finally their massive 13-15 feet wide tail flukes. Just seeing these majestic animals gently swim in the Salish Sea with their 40 tonne bodies is fascinating in itself.

Our trip would not have been complete had we not gone to see the marine mammals at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve. Our guests were just ecstatic to see and hear all the male California and Steller sea lions that haul-out there almost all year long. Luckily, we also saw a juvenile Northern elephant seal lying atop one of the rocky islets. Our friend and sole sea otter found around this ecological reserve, Ollie, was also floating around in the kelp beds.

To view more images from today’s trip, click on the following link.

October 12 – A Sea of Humpback Whales

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