© Five Star Whale Watching/Katie Smith. Image — A Humpback Whale seen this afternoon lifts its large flukes before a dive in the Strait of Juan de Fuca (note the small, white barnacles visible on the tail).
Multiple Humpback Whales
We had a truly awe-inspiring trip this afternoon and were fortunate to witness some very remarkable whales. We headed south, into Juan de Fuca Strait, to begin our search for animals.
Juan de Fuca Strait is a large body of water that connects the open Pacific Ocean to the Salish Sea, and is a major passageway for animals transiting into these waters. Throughout our trip, we were fortunate to encounter numerous whales! These were Humpback Whales, and are migratory animals that spend the spring, summer and sometimes early fall months in the Salish Sea. They are the largest species of whales we see in these waters, and are one of the largest whale species in the entire world. These whales surfaced with thunderous breaths, sending their blows several feet into the air (can reach 10 feet high).
Often after these whales surface, they arch their back (behind the dorsal fin) as they take a deep dive (giving them their name). As these whales disappeared under the water, we caught glimpses of their massive flukes being raised clear above the water. These patterned flukes are a sight in themselves to see, as they may measure approximately 15-18 feet across and act as a fingerprint for each whale.
These whales have come to feed in the Salish Sea, namely on small schooling fish and krill. They will return to their birthing grounds for the winter months before repeating this migration. They are a remarkable gentle giant to watch, and we were thrilled to see various individuals!
We had a great time on the water this afternoon with this species. To view more images from today’s trip, click on the link below: