October 22 – Humpback Comeback

© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — Three Humpback whales traveling together in the Strait of Juan de Fuca today.

Humpback Whales

We had a fantastic day with multiple Humpback whale encounters today. It was just incredible!

We headed out of the Inner Harbour and went southwest. We first stopped to look at a bait ball indicated by a large flock of sea birds at the surface. We noticed another one closer to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve and soon after spotted blows nearby. There were three Humpback whales(pictured above) traveling and feeding together! The flood tide had concentrated nutrient-rich waters that the whales were taking advantage of in the area. After spending time watching the three whales, we decided to head eastwards to look for more feeding animals. We soon found more Humpbacks that were feeding nearby.

Humpback whales are baleen whales. They only visit the Salish Sea for feeding. They fuel up on energy during their time here before heading down south to their breeding grounds in Hawaii and Mexico.

It was an amazing day on the water today. We kept spotting blows from various Humpback blows throughout the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We encountered at least a dozen individuals today feeding in the productive waters of the Salish Sea. At one point when we spotted another bait ball near Race Rocks, we noticed a Humpback whale that was heading straight for the bait ball. As we waited nearby to see what was about to happen next, we saw the Humpback engulf the whole bait ball using its flexible mouth. They have ventral pleats extending from their lower jaws all the way down to their bellies. This is whale allows them to engulf ~2500 litres of food and water in one go. They are majestic animals.

We also saw California sea lions, Steller sea lions, Harbour seals, and our friend, Ollie the sea otter at the ecological reserve.

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

October 22 – Humpback Comeback

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